MASAKA - Statistics from Masaka Health Centre, Kicukiro District, show that none of the 31 babies delivered at the centre so far this year have HIV, a national achievement compared to the last five years.
According to the statistics, in 2005, 18 out of 61 infants were diagnosed with the virus, but the number kept reducing whereby in 2009, only 3 out 62 infants were tested with HIV.
Claudien Gatwaza, a senior chemist at the health centre, said in an interview that the residents had become more open in going for voluntary testing to know their HIV status.
“Nurses from the health centre and volunteers from around the district have been carrying out extensive sensitization programmes calling on people to go for tests,” Gatwaza said.
Expectant mothers who tested positive, he said, were recruited in special programmes at the health centre to reduce the risk of mother-to-child-infections.
“Although HIV is still a major problem that we must fight, people around the area now know the importance of HIV counselling and testing. That is why we get couples and families coming for tests together,” Gatwaza added.
Built and supported by the Catholic Archdiocese, Masaka Health Centre serves a population of 24,150 people and gets assistance from the government as well as international organizations like The Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation and the U.S President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Meanwhile, the health centre was yesterday visited by Ambassador Eric Goosby, the US Global AIDS Coordinator at the US Department of State who is currently on an official visit to Rwanda.
Goosby is today expected to sign the US-Rwanda HIV Partnership Framework with the government which will be represented by Health Minister, Dr Richard Sezibera.