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Eyeing the Prize: One facility sets its sight on ZERO HIV transmission from mother to child

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Transmission of HIV from pregnant mothers to their children is a key route of HIV transmission in Nigeria. The USAID funded Strengthening Integrated Delivery of HIV/AIDS Services (SIDHAS) project undertook a mission to bridge the PMTCT gap through a comprehensive four prong package of services targeting women, children and their families in Taraba State. The goal was to significantly reduce the incidences of new infections from mother to child and gradually achieve a zero elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV. One facility in the state bought into this vision and aggressively pursued this goal through targeted interventions in the focus communities, thereby increasing demand for the available PMTCT services. This facility is the Mambilla Baptist Hospital (MBH) Gembu.

Though the SIDHAS supported PMTCT program is being implemented in sixty two (62) facilities (including PHCs) in Taraba State with relatively good results, a review of the Mambilla Baptist Hospital data showed impressive result of (1.4%) when compared to other facilities in the state. This result showed a remarkable reduction in the rate of maternal to child transmission of HIV over a period of 30 months (Oct 2011-March 2014) which is close to the lowest rate of (1.1%) documented by a study conducted in Bostwana1. Through the support provided to this Faith based facility by the SIDHAS project, the staff ensured strict adherence to the nationally recommended ARV prophylaxis guideline of triple-drug antiretroviral regimen for treatment or prophylaxis of HIV positive pregnant women commenced as early as possible during pregnancy and continued throughout breastfeeding period.

Infants received daily Nevirapine for 6 weeks irrespective of the mother’s antiretroviral. Follow up on the 2 exposed infants who tested HIV positive out of the 140 exposed infants tested, revealed that one of the infants who tested HIV positive was brought into the facility sick. Mother and baby did not attend antenatal services in the hospital therefore, did not receive any form of intervention antepartum or postpartum.

The achievement of this result in a resource limited setting, notwithstanding the location of the facility in a hard to reach terrain, is an inspiring evidence of the impact of the SIDHAS project.

 

 

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