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How One Country Brought Down Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission

mother to child
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The success was in a Nigeria, where women living with HIV outnumber men.

Philip Lokoko of the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS in Nigeria announced the mother-to-child transmission rate of HIV has dropped to less than 10 percent in Nasarawa State. He delivered the news while discussing the Nigeria Resilient and Sustainable System for Health Project in Lafia.

According to PM News Nigeria, RSSH is a project for Nigeria’s health system to strengthen their fight against tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV.

The project also improves management and laboratory systems while strengthening the Nigerian health management information. State-level interventions are supported around public financial management, and three government entities serve as sub-recipients.

At the roundtable event, Lokoko, who also serves as Nasarawa State Coordinator, said the success in decreasing mother-to-child HIV transmission came from partner interventions and the activities of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS.

The project worked with 15 Community-Based Organizations from the areas where they intervened. They monitored and ensured improved services for members, but Lokoko also lamented over the lingering stigmatization the public causes for the people living with HIV.

As of 2021, nearly 1.9 million people in Nigeria were HIV-positive. Women made up 1.1 million of the infected population, whereas men accounted for around 630,000. This has also echoed the 2018 article in Sciencethat discussed Nigeria having more HIV-infected babies than anywhere in the world.

At the time, mothers had a 15 to 30 percent chance of transmitting the virus to her baby either in utero or at birth. Breastfeeding infected up to 15 percent more. The current transmission rate falling under 10 percent marks a massive shift forward for the country and brings them one step closer to reaching the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal to eliminate HIV by 2030.

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