By Paul Effiong Abuja
In other to stop the spread of HIV from mother to child, the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with the US centers for Disease control and Prevention (CDC) and African Field Epidemiology Network (AFENET) has organized workshop on the Finding of the Prevention of Mother to child Transmission of HIV/ AIDS (PMTCT) cascade Evaluation conducted in high burden states in the country.
The study was conducted and reported through a collaborative process involving the Government of Nigeria, US Agencies funded by the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in Nigeria, and Implementing Partners. with various individuals and/or organizations that contributed to successful implementation and reporting of the study.
Minister of Health, Professor Issac Adewole in key note address said Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) is a focused intervention that begins in pregnancy, continues through delivery and ends at cessation of breastfeeding. It aims to prevent HIV transmission from mother to child. The PMTCT cascade represents a complex system of sequential, interdependent steps that pregnant HIV-positive women pass through to receive appropriate care and treatment for themselves and their newborns. The sequential steps include antenatal care attendance, HIV counseling and testing, prophylactic antiretroviral medicines, safe delivery, safe infant feeding, infant follow-up including HIV testing, and family planning.
Represented by Dr Sunday Aboje of the ministry, the Minister said following the scale up of the PMTCT services in the country, there are currently about 6,283 Health facilities offering PMTCT services.
Despite this increase, overall PMTCT coverage remains low at 30 % and according to the World Health Organization. he acknowledge and appreciate the contribution of the deployment partners and donors for the success of the exercise
Accordingly, he said to assess the coverage and gaps in the PMTCT cascade in Nigeria, the study was commissioned with the following objectives (i) to estimate the uptake of HIV testing and use of ARVs to reduce mother-to-child transmission; (ii) to estimate the proportion of HIV exposed infants within 72 hours of birth, had EID done within 12 months and had a final outcome documented at 18 months and (iii) to identify risk factors associated with attrition along the PMTCT cascade.
According to him, “To address these objectives, a cross sectional analysis of mother-infant pairs was conducted across each geopolitical zone in Nigeria from 114 health facilities, Some state were selected for the studies, these are ,Benue State Ministry of Health, Nasarawa State Ministry of Health, Taraba State Ministry of Health, Bauchi State Ministry of Health, Kaduna State Ministry of Health, Katsina State Ministry of Health, Anambra State Ministry of Health, Abia State Ministry of Health, Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Health, Rivers State Ministry of Health, Lagos State Ministry of Health, and Ogun State Ministry of Health.”