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Managing HIV/AIDS in Maternity & Eliminating Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV

In commemoration of World AIDS Day 2015, the #MaternalMonday Campaign of the Wellbeing Africa has canvassed the need to manage HIV/AIDS in maternity and eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV - most particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. According to UNAIDS, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the world, with an estimated 24.7 million people living with HIV in 2013, accounting for 71% of the global total. Nevertheless, although pregnant women and new mothers can be affected by HIV/AIDS, early detection and strict adherence to medical treatment can sufficiently mitigate the negative impacts of the disease on their health.

Despite global progress made in reducing the prevalence of HIV, maternal mortality resulting from AIDS remains high in Nigeria, with statistics indicating that an estimated 210,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in the country in the year 2013 - 14% of the global total. Participants who proffered best-practice solutions noted that mother-to-child transmission is the most common route of HIV transmission; therefore, the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV is key to preventing and reducing cases/incidences of the disease.

While the World Health Organization has noted that the likelihood of HIV passing from mother-to-child is 15-45% without treatment, antiretroviral treatment (ART) and other effective interventions for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) can reduce this risk to below 5%. To decrease the prevalence of HIV in Nigeria and eradicate the AIDS epidemic by 2030, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa joins the Nigerian National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan (NSP) 2010-2015 in the call for enhanced behaviour change communication for key affected populations; encourages all women to test for HIV/AIDS the moment pregnancy has begun, and calls for increased investment in interventions that can deliver PMTCT - which is key to eliminating HIV infections among newborns.

#MaternalMonday, the popular weekly information campaign established by Her Excellency Toyin Saraki's Wellbeing Foundation Africa seeks to empower midwives, mothers and their newborns through demand creation for birth-preparedness, reducing the scourge of preventable maternal newborn and child mortality. Mrs. Saraki, the Newborn Champion for Save The Children Nigeria, also serves as Global Goodwill Ambassador to the International Confederation of Midwives.

Signed: Communications The Wellbeing Foundation Africa Email: Web:

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