Wednesday, March 13, 2013

100,000 babies born annually in Nigeria are HIV positive

A recent report has shown that between 50,000 and 100,000 of babies born in the country yearly are carriers of HIV.

The report was released on Tuesday in Abuja, when the Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, hosted the National Steering Group of the Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive.

The group was constituted by President Goodluck Jonathan in April 2012 to help mobilise national leadership for global plan on eliminating mother-to-child transmission, implementation and keeping their mothers alive.

The NSG has since been working across states of the federation, seeking to end transmission of the scourge.

In her presentation, entitled, ‘Update on eMTCT in Nigeria,’ the National Coordinator (HIV/AIDS Division) in the Federal Ministry of Health, and member of the group, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, said global target was to reduce the number of new HIV infections among children by 90 per cent and reduce the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths by 50 percent.

According to the report, while the current population of HIV positive persons in Nigeria stands at 3.1million, the number of births in the country annually is six million.

Besides, while HIV prevalence remains 4.1 per cent, the population of HIV positive pregnant women annually in the country is put at 229,480.

The report said, “Fifty-eight per cent of women attend Ante Natal Care, at least once; 45 per cent attend, at least, four times; 35 per cent of births occur in health facilities; 39 per cent deliveries by skilled birth attendants, while HIV babies born annually are between 50,000 and 100, 000.”

The report also indicated three bottlenecks, which it attempted to address.

They are strengthening human resources for health; improving efficiencies in the HIV commodities; and supply chain management and improving early infant diagnosis.

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