‘Mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS drops in Bayelsa’

AIDS:HIVA non-governmental Organisation, Pact, has disclosed that its partnership with Chevron Nigeria Limited and the Bayelsa State government, has reduced the prevalence of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) in the state, from 9.1% to 3.8% in the last four years.

Acting Country Director of Pact Nigeria, Dr Amina Ahmed-Shehu, who made the disclosure at the weekend, said Pact had entered partnership with Chevron on a 42-month PROMOT Project in Nigeria, with the aim of reducing the transmission of mother to child infection of HIV/AIDS.

She spoke at a forum organised to assess the activities of the project, with the theme “Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV” (PROMOT), which has been a joint project with the NGO since September 2012.

The Pact director said PROMOT worked with 8 community-based organisations in the state, to increase HIV awareness, including mentoring and supporting pregnant women, on how to deliver HIV- free children.

She said the project has contributed to the growth of
mother-to-child transmission service centres, which has grown in the state from 6 in 2012, to 134 in 2016.

She listed other achievements of the project, to include the training of 22 HIV- positive pregnant women, to serve as role models in their communities, by encouraging their peers to get tested and receive treatment when necessary.

She further revealed that 294,000 people were reached with HIV messages, while over 50,000 pregnant women were tested for HIV.

Ahmed-Shehu added that over 300 HIV-exposed infants were tested for the virus at six weeks, while almost 700 pregnant women received antiretroviral prophylaxis.

She identified climatic/geographic conditions and rising cost of transportation, as some challenges that posed critical barriers for pregnant women to access the services in the state.

General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs Department of Chevron, Deji Heastrup said Chevron was proud to have partnered with Pact and the state government on the project.

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