6,000 babies risk HIV infection in Kaduna – Unicef

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has revealed that about 6,000 newborn babies in Kaduna statea are at the risk of getting infected by HIV in 2019.
UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Kaduna, Dr. Adam Zakari, made the revelation in Kaduna on Monday at a “one day feedback meeting with the Wife of Kaduna state Governor and spouses of local government chairmen/ chairpersons on level of Kaduna Implementation of 2018 demand creation activities for the Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV in Kaduna state.”

Dr Zakari, said, though Kaduna has recorded a lot of achievement of consistent increase in Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, coverage from 16% in 2012 to 66% in 2017, HIV in children has become a critical health problem undermining the positive impact of child survival intervention efforts of the state.

“This increase in PMTCT is as result of joint evidence-based planning and coordinated implementation of home grown LGA specific strategies and interventions across the state. 

“However, there are about 6,000 babies at risk of getting HIV infected this year in Kaduna state, if appropriate and innovative PMTCT interventions are not implemented. It is thus, evident that transmission of HIV in children has become a critical health problem undermining the positive impact of child survival intervention efforts of the state,” he explained.

He stated that Kaduna State is one of the four states in the country being supported by UNICEF to pilot elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV by 2020 and end adolescent AIDs epidemic by 2030. He said the state is still challenged by low Antenatal Care (ANC) attendance and hospital delivery and is equally battling with low awareness about the benefits of eMTCT and inadequate human resources for quality health services.

The state Commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr Paul Dogo, said that the state has achieved a giant stride in reducing the prevalence of HIV in the state from 11.6 per cent in 1999 to 1.1 per cent in 2018 adding that the state has moved from prevention of mother to child transition of HIV to elimination.

“The state government had in 2012 established 126 eMTCT sites and currently we have 927 eMTCT sites. All we need is increase demand for such services, which is where the wives of the local government chairmen come in. We need you to support the wife of the governor to create the needed awareness and enlightenment to our mothers in all LGAs to demand for HIV services which are readily available in health centres,” he said.

Wife of Kaduna state Governor, Hajiya Ummi el-Rufai, appealed to the wives of the LG chairmen to redouble their effort towards ensuring that no child was infected with HIV.

“Take this as a personal responsibility in ensuring that all pregnant women in your domain are enlightened on the benefits of eMTCT, attends ANC and demand for HIV services. This is the only way we will continue to make progress toward achieving zero new infections of HIV among newborn in Kaduna state,” she said. 

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