The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has stated that about 22,000 Nigerian kids get infected with HIV annually.
UNICEF’s Chief of Management for Results, Claes Johansson, who disclosed this at the national dialogue assembly for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, PMTCT, of HIV in Nigeria on Tuesday, stated about two-thirds of the infected kids do not get treatment.
He described the assembly as a fundamental one for Nigeria to talk about methods of getting rid of vertical transmission of HIV, also recognised as mother-to-child transmission.
He said: “We are working within a framework to map out an approach that we will work with for the next 5 years alongside Nigeria.
“Ending the vertical transmission of HIV/AIDS is one of the key moves that will also assist in ending the pandemics, which is what the international world is looking ahead to.
“However, we have so a whole lot to do and a long way to go, in particular with mother-to-child transmission taking about 32 percent and one out of seven being infected on a monthly basis is a Nigerian with about 22,000 infected yearly.
“This is a situation that is simply not acceptable and for all these children who get infected, about two-thirds of them do not get treatment.
“So, we in the global community want the Nigerian government to tell us what their sustainable strategic plans are and what they need to eliminate vertical transmission.
The UN and its affiliated agencies and bodies are always willing to assist Nigeria put an end to PMTCT.
“Let us know your priorities so that we can aid and help map out strong, sustainable methods to eliminating vertical transmission.”
In his remarks, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS, NACA, Gambo Aliyu, emphasised the need for a better method to deal with PMTCT.
He stated that in 2016, there had been about 13,000 infected pregnant mothers who were not getting treatment, which had risen to 421,000 as of 2019.
Aliyu attributed the rise to the reality that many pregnant women had not visited medical facilities, adding that part of the methods mentioned in the dialogue was how to get treatment to the women if they were not inclined to come to the facilities.
Betta Edu, Cross River’s commissioner for health, who spoke on behalf of health commissioners of all the 36 states, stated it was vital to work alongside different HIV-related organisations in order to make the PMTCT a success.