Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

From TCNEWS

A strategic information Officer in the National Aids Viral Hepatitis and STIs Control Programme (NASCP) of the Federal Ministry of Health Abuja, Dr. Mercy Morka has disclosed that Mother-to-child transmission accounts for Ninety percent of transmission of HIV infections in Nigeria 

Speaking at the ongoing training for Senior journalists and Editors drawn from diverse media Organisations in Nigeria at the Sheraton Hotel Lagos state, Dr. Morka pointed out that identifying pregnant women who are infected with HIV during antenatal and placing them on drugs and treatment will help to reduce mother to child transmission of Hiv. 

Morka who explained that an HIV-infected pregnant mother can give birth to a baby that is negative with the improvement in technology, pointed out that HIV is no longer a death sentence, as infected persons can live a normal life if they take their drugs accordingly. 

She further explained that an estimated 93 percent of infected women give birth annually in Nigeria, and advocated for massive testing of pregnant mothers of HIV in all facilities in Nigeria, be it public, private, or traditional Birth Attendant facilities to achieve better results in reducing the spread of HIV. 

According to Dr Morka, the media has a role to play in addressing the problems of stigma and discrimination against infected persons, which has made it difficult for those infected with the virus to make their status known.

The strategic information Officer in the Federal Government Agency said that all hands must be on deck to stop new infections of HIV and commended the implementing partners and donors including PEPFAR Nigeria, Henry Jackson Foundation, and Living Health, among others for organizing the training to equip journalist with the right information to educate and communicate to the populace, and  also their continue support for HIV intervention response among other infections.

She recommended the testing and treatment of TB and Hepatitis alongside HIV to avoid complications and mortality. explaining that undetectable periods do not mean that one is free from Hiv, as being speculated by some people.

In his presentation Dr Murphy Akpu of the UNAIDS maintained that testing is the only way of ascertaining those infected by Hiv, pointing out that semen and vaginal fluids are the risk factors for spreading HIV, including consumption of hard drugs by young people across communities in Nigeria. 

 He made a case for community participation in the fight against HIV, and integration of HIV with other ailments, rather than separating it, to stop the widespread stigma and discrimination surrounding those with the virus.

 Dr Akpu advised those infected with HIV to always take their drugs to continue living their normal lives and also stop the spread of the virus.

 In a presentation, a representative of PEPFAR Miss Nnenna Onyemaobi said that the organization is committed to the fight against Hiv, and urged the media to continue partnering government and partners to achieve a society that is free from HIV. 

Also Mrs. Olayide Akanni and Dr. Gbenga Adebayo of Living Health said that the training will equip the journalists and Editors with the necessary skills and information to communicate better to the people across states and communities in Nigeria to achieve UNAIDS 95, 95. 95. Epidemic control. 

Pix: Mr. Ifeanyi Ogbonna, one of the participants and a senior journalist.

The five-day HIV Media Training would end on Friday this week.

By NWAMARA

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