From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) Nigeria says it has discharged 307 HIV exposed infants from the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) program from its comprehensive sites in Benue State in 2020.
The Foundation, while making this known on Monday during the International Women’s Day (IWD) celebration, disclosed that all the 307 exposed infants all tested negative to HIV before they were discharged.
Advocacy and Marketing Manager of AHF Nigeria, Mr. Steve Aborisade who explained that the theme for this year’s IWD was Women in leadership, Achieving an Equal Future in COVID-19 world stated that the Foundation decided to celebrate mentor mothers this year for their role in ensuring the safety of pregnant mothers and their infants.
“AHF is to honour women leaders and our mentor mothers who are working in primary health care centers across the country are our leaders. We now have HIV positive mothers with HIV negative children because of the great work these mentor mothers do.”
Abosishade thus encouraged the health workers to keep up the good job and ensure more women enroll for anti natal care.
On her part, Ruth Atabor, State Nursing Coordinator, AHF Benue, disclosed that the Foundation has comprehensive sites in seven local government areas in Benue where mentor mothers have been engaged to attend to pregnant women.
“We engaged mentor mothers to improve the uptake of PMCTC during ANC. The mentor mothers are our face in the community. The women come through the ANC and anyone that is HIV positive is linked through the ANC.
“These intervention are given during pregnancy, labour and delivery as well as during breastfeeding. The intervention runs within 18 months while the children are also followed up for another 18 months in the PMTCT program.
“We see these women as leaders from their homes and their communities. That’s why we have decided to celebrate them and also train them to work with the community and the facilities that they represent. We are trying to see how we can improve ANC uptake in their different communities,” Atabor said.
Some of the mentor mothers who spoke including Sonia Vembeh, from Community Healthcare Center, Agasha, and
Kwandi Deborah from Owner occupier facility, Guma and Makurdi local Government areas respectively thanked AHF for honouring them this year and promised to keep doing their best for pregnant women and their children.