Health Ministry Begins Major Moves to Reduce HIV in Children
With the recent declaration by the United Nations, of Nigeria as the country with the worst child HIV prevalence and incidence rate, the Minister of State for Health, Muhammad Pate, has led an advocacy visits to Bayelsa and Cross River States, in a bid to encourage Preventing Mother To Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) service delivery in Primary Health Centres, PHC, and private facilities. Both states are believed to have high HIV prevalence in children.
Muhammad Pate, during the courtesy call to the state governors and traditional rulers of both states, also held meetings with various PMTCT stakeholders as well as the health commissioners, other state officials, development partners, and civil society groups. He also visited primary health care centres providing PMTCT services.
Speaking while meeting with the various stakeholders, the Minister said that applying simple interventions can result in massive increase in the number of lives saved, especially of women and children. “increasing access and utilization of Maternal and Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) services; immunization against vaccine preventable diseases and voluntary counselling and testing of mothers and providing access to treatment where indicated”. The minister added.
He noted that it is very important that all stakeholders worked “collectively” to reverse the HIV prevalence in the respective states. He said there is need for the state leadership, especially the state governors, to hold their teams accountable for progress made on the MTCT agenda.
Currently, efforts are geared at assisting the states to identify the priority interventions for MTCT over the next few years as well as planning towards implementing them in a collective way.