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6,000 Children Risk Contracting HIV In Kaduna – UNICEF

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that 6,000 newborns in Kaduna State are at the risk of contracting HIV in 2019 if the elimination of Mother-To-Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV interventions were not implemented.

Dr. Zakari Adam, the chief of field office, UNICEF Kaduna, made the assertion at a meeting in Kaduna, yesterday.

The meeting was organised for the wives of local government chairmen in the state to give feedback on the level of the implementation of the 2018 demand creation activities on eMTCT of HIV.

Adam said that Kaduna State was one of the four states in the country being supported by UNICEF to pilot eMTCT by 2020 and end adolescent AIDS epidemic by 2030.

He said that though the state had recorded an increase in eMTCT coverage from 16 per cent in 2012 to 66 per cent in 2017, it was still challenged by low antenatal care (ANC) attendance and hospital delivery.

The UNICEF chief further said that the state was battling with low awareness on the benefits of eMTCT and inadequate human resources for quality health services.

“Currently, there are 6,000 babies at the risk of getting HIV infection in 2019 if appropriate and innovative eMTCT interventions are not fully implemented.

“This meeting, therefore, provides an opportunity to lay bare all the eMTCT challenges with a view to taking proactive measures to tackle them,” he said.

A resource person at the meeting, Malam Lawal Abubakar, said that inadequate funding was affecting eMTCT activities in the state, leading to inadequate test kits and other HIV commodities in eMTCT facilities.

“There was also weak linkage of pregnant women tested HIV positive from health facilities to HIV treatment. As at 2017, 56 per cent of antenatal care facilities were provided with eMTCT service and only 66 per cent of HIV pregnant women were placed on treatment,” Abubakar said.

The Kaduna State commissioner for Health and Human Services, Dr. Paul Dogo, said that the state had achieved a giant stride in reducing the prevalence of HIV.

The executive secretary, Kaduna State Agency for the Control of AIDS, Dr. Marc Anthony, expressed the optimism that the state would achieve zero new infection of HIV among newborn by 2020.

The wife of Zaria local government chairman, Mrs, Amina Bamali, said that she had visited 13 of the 16 Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in the LGA, adding that the turnout of women for ANC was encouraging.

On her part, the wife of Kaduna State governor, Hajiya Ummi el-Rufai, appealed to the wives of the LG chairmen to redouble their efforts to ensure that no child is infected with HIV.

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