By Dorathy Aninge
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria, has called on pregnant women especially those living with HIV to access antenatal care early to avoid mother to child transmission.
The Coordinator of AHF in Benue, Ruth Atabor, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Makurdi.
Atabor said the foundation had put together a programme where women were trained as mentor mothers in different communities to reach out to women in different localities.
“This will enable them work with the community and facilities in their vicinity to enable pregnant women living with HIV give birth to HIV negative children,” she said.
She added that the programme was presently being implemented in Seven communities and that the response has so far been wonderful.
“AHF has so far discharged 307 exposed infants under the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme in 2020, who are all HIV negative at 18 months in their comprehensive sites in Benue,” Atabor said.
She also said the PMTCT programme was put in place to reduce the risk of child mortality and transmission from mother to child.
Meanwhile, Mrs Sonia Vembe, a mentor mother at Community Health Centre, Agasha in Guma Local Government Area said they enrolled pregnant women who were HIV positive in antenatal and encourage them to take their drugs regularly.
Vembe said they also follow up on the type of diet they took to build up their immune system and after birth, the children were tested to ascertain their HIV status.
Mrs Deborah Hwande, also a mentor mother at Owner Occupier Facility, Makurdi Local Government Area said they sometimes lacked the resources to take care of the children.
Hwande noted that some communities do not have access to the facilities to access PMTCT service.
She, however, commended the efforts of AHF towards bringing facilities close to them.