by Marcus Fatunmole

Slow progress in HIV pregnancies

Nigeria struggles to assist pregnant women who are HIV-positive

Nigeria struggles to assist pregnant women who are HIV-positive
Slow progress in HIV pregnancies

Out of the six million women who become pregnant in Nigeria yearly, about 300 000 are HIV-positive, revealed the director-general of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA), Professor John Idoko.

This was even as he emphasised that the country remains the second most burdened with the disease globally.

Idoko made this known in Abuja last week during a stakeholders’ meeting on a bill seeking an end to discrimination against HIV victims.

While he believes Nigeria is making slow progress in combating the disease, he added that 3.4 million people are still living with the scourge in the country.

Out of that figure, he said 1.5 million are required to be on drugs based on the current health guidelines, but only 500 000 of the population have access to antiretroviral drugs needed for their treatment.

He said: “In this country, about six million women are pregnant every year. Out of this, about 300 000 are HIV-positive. If you do nothing, about half of them would transmit the virus to their children. If you do something, you can reduce that percentage to about 5%.

"How much are we doing now? We do just only about 20%. The reason is because we cannot make the women go for antenatal care. In many of the states, the women are not going for antenatal care.”

Idoko therefore called for the transfer of ownership of HIV/Aids interventions to the states across Nigeria, stressing that only 25% of funds expended on the disease come from the Nigerian government, while the remaining 75% of funds are generated through international donations.

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