Children with HIV
By Segun Awofadeji
Indications emerged Tuesday, that 79 babies born out of the 160 HIV/AIDS positive couples, whose marriages were contracted under the auspices of Bauchi State Agency for the Control of HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (BACATMA) are all HIV negatives.
The Agency’s chairman, Dr. Mohammed Sambo Liman, said the 79 HIV/AIDS negative babies have since their birth, been growing in a healthy condition with moral support from BACATMA, as 11,232 HIV/AIDS positive individuals in the state were currently receiving Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART).
Liman also disclosed that the current HIV prevalence in the state stood at 2.0 per cent as against the 6.8 per cent in 2001 when the prevalence rate has hit an unacceptable level.
Speaking at the state’s Ministry, Department and Agencies (MDAs) press briefing in Bauchi, stated that the HIV/AIDS control program of the agency coordinates broad spectrum multi-sectoral response in collaboration with line ministries and the Office of the First Lady in the state.
He explained that strategic interventions of the agency include behaviour change communication and prevention of new infections, HIV counselling and testing, ART services, management of opportunistic infections, prevention of mother to child transmission, and community home based referrals.
The chairman stated that the state government in collaboration with some development partners and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had made substantial progress in the response to HIV/AIDS epidemic in the state.
According to him, resources have been mobilised and government and all partners to upgrade health facilities, train personnel, and provide equipment, essential drugs, reagents and other supplies to combat HIV/AIDS in the state.
To this end, Liman revealed that the agency had established 11 comprehensive ART Therapy Centres providing treatment to eligible HIV/AIDS patients, and 23 new HIV/AIDS counselling and testing centres in collaboration with the Planned parenthood Federation of Nigeria (PPFN) with support from global fund thus totalling the HCT to 51 in the state.
Other interventions under the program, he explained, include the establishment of six new prevention of Mother to child Transmission centres, and the carrying out of mobile HIV counselling and testing in five junction towns of Mararraba, Jama’are, Bulkachuwa, Nasaru, and Tudun Dan’iya, as well as ATBU and Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi. Liman said the agency had also received and distributed 28,610 different HIV rapid test kits to both public and private various health facilities, as 61,851 individuals received HIV counselling and testing of which 1233 were tested positive.
Liman said the agency has within the last one year trained 1093 healthcare workers on various aspects of HIV prevention, care and treatment.
He stated: “2108 HIV positive individuals were screened for Tuberculosis, 28,610 pregnant women were HIV counselled, tested and received results, 325 HIV/AIDS exposed children received early infant diagnosis services, 196 exposed infants received ARV prophylaxis, 468 HIV/AIDS positive mothers received infant feeding counselling.
Liman further revealed that the agency has involved people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) as demonstrated by appointment of representative of the Network of people living with HIV/AIDS (NEPWHAN) into BACATMA governing board.