No less than 143,000 pregnant women have been screened for HIV at the Nigerian Institute for Medical Research, NIMR, Lagos, even as 7,076 out of those screened are enrolled on Antiretroviral drug treatment.
The Deputy Director Research, NIMR, Prof Oliver Ezechi, who disclosed this recently, said the mother-to-child- transmission rate of HIV at the institution is less than 1.5 per cent.
“Over the years, we have screened 143,000 pregnant women. and enrolled 7,076 HIV positive pregnant women on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, PMTCT, programme, out of this figure, 6,411 have returned for assessment.
“When we see the women pregnant, we enrol them and provide them with drugs, because we don’t have in-patient facilities and then refer them to other hospitals for delivery and they are supposed to us return in six weeks. “Till date, out of all the pregnant women who received ARV drugs in NIMR who visit our facilities and returned, 33 out of the 641 babies that were returned to the HIV clinic were positive. What this means is that our mother-to-child- transmission rate is less than 1.5 per cent,” he stated.
Explaining further, Ezechi said as a result of the intervention, more than 2,000 babies had been saved from being born HIV positive.
“The theory is that if we did not do anything to intervene, out of every 100 HIV positive pregnant women, about 25-30 per cent of their babies would have been born HIV positive. What this means is that we have saved more than 2,000 babies that would have been born positive.”
He said 651 women did not return to the institute with their live babies for various reasons.
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“You know that during pregnancy there would be some losses, and there were several of the women that were completely lost to follow up. Out of the number, 651 did not come back with a live baby.”
Ezechi said there were another 74 women that were not counted in the total enrolled for the PMTCT programme. “These were among the pregnant women that did not attend the NIMR clinic and were delivered outside after which they brought their babies that turned out to be HIV positive.
We have to include these 74 women in order to calculate the real rate of mother-to-child transmission in this facility because we are supposed to be a catchment centre and provide services to everyone.
Once any woman has come here, whether we managed her or her baby or not, it is a missed opportunity. The ideal mother-to-child transmission rate is 0.51 per cent, that is if every woman that is pregnant comes here.
Vanguard News Nigeria
Read the original article on Vanguard.

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