OVER 50 HIV-EXPOSED INFANTS GRADUATE VIRUS-FREE IN LODWAR

OVER 50 HIV-EXPOSED INFANTS GRADUATE VIRUS-FREE IN LODWAR

Lodwar – May 25, 2024

HIV-positive mothers are urged to adhere to their medication to safeguard the next generation from HIV and AIDS. This milestone comes as 58 HIV-exposed infants graduate from the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) program at Lodwar County Referral Hospital (LCRH).

The 18-month PMTCT program had 96.6% success rate, with only two out of 58 children testing positive for HIV. This results in a 3.4% positivity rate, which is below the national recommended rate of under 5%.

Chief Officer for Preventive and Promotive Services, Cathra Abdi, commended the mothers for completing the program and urged them to encourage other women to participate. “Even though your children have been declared HIV-free, it does not mean you should stop taking the antiretroviral drugs. You [mothers] must keep taking them,” she said.

She further advised the mothers to stop consuming alcohol, as it is one of the leading causes of failing to adhere to antiretroviral treatment, thereby compromising their health.

Director for Preventive and Promotive Services, Dr. Bonventure Ameyo, highlighted the crucial role mother mentors play in following up with mothers in the PMTCT program. He emphasized that this initiative should be supported as it has proven effective in tracking defaulters.

Deputy Director for Partnership, Nancy Kinyonge, requested partners to collaborate with the county health department to enhance the quality of HIV Testing Services (HTS) in other facilities. Reiterating the importance, Dr. Khali Hassan, Deputy Director of LCRH, emphasized the need to scale up HTS to other sub-county facilities.

County AIDS and STI Coordinator, Samuel Pulkol, highlighted that stigma, poor antenatal care attendance, and home deliveries are some of the leading causes of defaulters and the high transmission rate. Turkana County’s PMTCT rate stands at 13.5%, compared to the national rate of 8.7%.

Partner representatives from AHF Kenya, USAID Imarisha Jamii, World Vision Kenya, the Kenya Red Cross Society, and LCRH staff of the Comprehensive Care Clinic were also present at the event.

TOBONGU LORE

13TH-14TH AUGUST 2024