The Federal Government through its ministry of Health has identified seven barriers hindering its mandatory goal to eliminate mother – to – child transmission of HIV (e-MTCT) and Zero new HIV infections in the country
The Assistant Director, National PMTCT Lead National AIDS and STIs Control Program (NASCP) of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Ijaodola Olugbenga made this known on Tuesday at a workshop organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of information and culture in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Calabar.
The gaps, according to Dr. Olugbenga include: Poor access to the formal public health sector; The challenge of having a comprehensive data reporting system; Ineligible improvement in Antenatal and facility delivery uptake; and low Pediatric HIV case identification as well as poor linkage to care and Treatment for children living with HIV.
He added that Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services at present reaches only about one third of pregnant women in Nigeria while many states are yet to respond to the provision of adequate funding for HIV programmatic activities including PMTCT.
Olugbenga ,however, said in a bid to close up the gaps, the government has rolled at a work plan which is targeting at least 95 per cent of all HIV positive person to receive antiretroviral therapy.
Saying, ” The National Strategic Plan (NSP), 95% of all HIV positive pregnant and breastfeeding mothers receive antiretroviral therapy.
” 95% of all HIV-exposed infants receive antiretroviral prophylaxis; 95% of all HIV-exposed infants have early infant diagnosis within 6-8 weeks of Birth.
” The WHO EMTCT Target (“yellow book”) 95% ANC Coverage 95% Testing Coverage for pregnant women 95% PMTCT Coverage”.
He,therefore, advocated for the need to develop state specific realistic approach to improve antenatal(ANC) , ANC Testing and PMTCT Coverage.