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National Dialogue to end mother to Child transmission of HIV in Nigeria, the need to achieve Epidemic Control and bring transmission to zero

Key stakeholders in the health sector met in Abuja to deliberate on viable ways to reduce the transmission of HIV AIDS from mother to child. In Nigeria there is urgent need to achieve HIV epidemic control. One of every 7 children infected in the world is in Nigeria and 2/3 will not receive treatment. 90% of HIV new cases are due to mother to child transmission of HIV. This is so because of the low delivery by skilled birth attendants which is about 43%. In about 8 million pregnancies in a year, 6 million do not use Antenatal Care Services or deliver with skilled birth attendants this has made the number of babies born with HIV to be on the increase.

Speaking at the event, the Honorable Minister of Health Dr Osagie has called on Health workers to improve in identification of HIV positive mothers and infants at facility and community levels, he has appealed to mothers to use health facilities during ANC and Delivery while improving on data management to help the country drive policy and make timely decisions. The minister of state for Health Sen Mamora has called for improvement of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV services across the country to help tackle this menace. The DG NACA said Nigeria is the biggest contributor to pediatric HIV and death, he said there is need to bring transmission to zero and all stakeholders must work towards same.

The National Chairman of Nigeria Health Commissioners Forum Dr Betta Edu who represented all the commissioners at the meeting said there is need for a wholistic approach of health system strengthening, domestic resources mobilization to improve PMCTC programs at state level, while shifting the national strategy from facility based finding and care to community based. Let health workers go to communities to search for pregnant women and work with the community leaders to ensure the attend ante natal care and deliver in health facilities. Provide HIV testing in communities and the right information to guide them. Ensure life long access of the HIV positive mothers to HIV treatment even during pregnancy. The Federal Ministry of Health and NACA should send technical supports to state ministry of Health and SACA. Timely release of the Basic Health Care Provosion fund will strengthen health care deliver at Primary Health level while supporting decentralization of PMTCT services. We must integrate PMTCT services into other reproductive and safe Motherhood services everywhere in Nigeria.

Others who spoke were Development partners who have committed to work with Federal Government and states to achieve HIV epidemic control and bring the mother to child transmission rate down to zero.

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