‘1.7m Nigeria women, 380,000 children living with HIV’
No fewer than 1.7million women and 380,00 children under age 15, are currently living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria according to the 2015 data by the National AIDS & STIs Control Program (NASCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH).
National Coordinator of the National AIDS and STIS Control, of the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Sunday Aboje, at a three-day workshop organized for members of the Journalists Alliance for the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria (JAPIN) in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State want all hands to be on deck to reduce the prevalence rate among children.
Aboje, expressed dismay that only 53,677 HIV positive pregnant women out of about 75,855 that test positive in the same year received anti-retroviral drugs.
“As a result of this, many babies have been exposed to HIV/AIDS through Mother To Child Transmission (EMTCT). Currently, Nigeria has the largest number of paediatric HIV cases in the world,” Taiwo Olakunle, who represented Dr. Aboje, said.
According to him, Nigeria’s HIV burden remains the second highest globally with 3.4 million people estimated to be living with the disease.
He noted that the country is committed to the goal of eliminating mother to child transmission by 2020 and has initiated a number of strategies to achieve it.
The workshop, by UNICEF, has over 40 journalists from different states coming together to deliberate on ways of preventing mother to child transmission.
UNICEF Communications specialist, Geoffrey Njoku, expressed worry that many pregnant positive women still miss out on ante-retroviral(ART) treatment. He therefore urged journalists to help spread awareness on benefits of ART especially for their unborn child.