Nigeria: HIV – UN Women Lament Continued Mother-to-Child Transmission

United Nations (UN) Women and Association of Women Living with HIV and AIDS in Nigeria (ASWHAN) have decried poor investments in community systems to drive and prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV/AIDS.

The two groups described the investment as inconsistent and was being done with tokenism.

The duo, however, called for collective efforts to prevent the menace.

Speaking during 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and the closing of a four-day training in Abuja yesterday, the national coordinator of the association, Assumpta Reginald said there are evidences of good practices that can improve the success of PMTCT programming in Nigeria.

“All the evidences for improving maternal uptake of facility services points to the need to invest in community structures and systems. PMTCT or EMTCT as it is called now will require active community engagement to make the needed difference,” she said.

On her part, the national programme officer, UN Women to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Patience Ekeoba lamented that violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation around the world.

She lamented that it was heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that its prevalence is now being further increased by the intersecting crises of climate change, global conflict, and economic instability.

Also, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS, Dr Idayat Uthman, said the role of communities in ending AIDS as a Public Health threat cannot be overemphasised.

She said in the 2021 Global AIDS strategy, the critical role of communities was affirmed and it recognised that to meet the global targets, community responses to HIV must be scaled up and thus committed to at least 30 per cent of services being community led by 2030.

“We will therefore sustain advocacy for the improved funding and technical assistance to ASWHAN and other related community and key populations led networks and organisation for greater impact and better outcomes in the country,” she added.

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