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Expert urges state governments to procure HIV commodities to boost PMTCT

The Lead for the National Prevention of Mother-To- Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS (PMTCT) at National AIDS and STI Control has advocated for state governments to procure HIV commodities to boost PMTCT. Dr Gbenga Ijaodola, PMTCT Assistant Director, made the appeal in Calabar, on Thursday, at a three-day workshop to reinvigorate and produce a…

Mother and Child Photo:Getty image

The Lead for the National Prevention of Mother-To- Child Transmission of HIV and AIDS (PMTCT) at National AIDS and STI Control has advocated for state governments to procure HIV commodities to boost PMTCT.

Dr Gbenga Ijaodola, PMTCT Assistant Director, made the appeal in Calabar, on Thursday, at a three-day workshop to reinvigorate and produce a work plan for journalists.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the journalists are members of the Journalists’ Alliance for the Prevention of Mother-To- Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS(JAPiN).

The workshop was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF.

According to Ijaodola, there was an urgent need for a clear community strategy to reach the unreached, as well as to mobilise community influencers, especially religious leaders, who would help to educate pregnant women on PMTCT need.

The assistant director said that there was need to understand why about 60 per cent of pregnant women delivered at home and then respond to their needs with a clear strategy.

Mr Shola Ogundipe, Health Editor, Vanguard, said that JAPIN members were journalists and change agents for prioritisation of PMTCT and the Elimination of mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT).

Ogundipe noted that this was by bringing fresh perspectives into related HIV and AIDS issues in the media.

He said that the members would positively impact on the process of communicating government’s policy agenda and legislation on HIV and AIDS, with specific focus on PMTCT and EMTCT.

He said that over the years, JAPIN had pursued the PMTCT and EMTCT agenda in Nigeria, in accordance with its role to ensure that mother-to-child transmission of HIV received the desired attention in relation to national HIV and AIDS issues.

“JAPIN has successfully utilised various media platforms and documented strategies to address the challenges of EMTCT of HIV by giving wider coverage of the issues in Nigeria.

“JAPIN has (also) bridged the communication gap between government, healthcare providers, mothers and civil society groups, as far as EMTCT in Nigeria is concerned,’’ he said.

Ogundipe added that JAPIN had provided improved knowledge on the scope and acceptability of infant feeding practices amongst women in Nigeria, specifically for HIV positive pregnant women.