BUGESERA The UN organization whose objective is to fight the Aids virus, UNAIDS, has stepped up sensitisation campaigns to prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT).
Opening a two-day workshop on PMTCT in Bugesera district on Wednesday, Dieudonne H. Ruturwa, social mobilisation advisor at UNAIDS Rwanda stated that the aim was to reduce by half the HIV infection rate; as well as reduce Mother-to-Child Transmission (MTCT) rate to 2 percent.
He noted that the workshop was in line with the 2009-2012 National Strategic Plan for the health sector.
The meeting revealed that the national HIV prevalence rate is estimated at 3 percent, and 4.3 percent among pregnant women. In Bugesera district, the prevalence rate is estimated at 3.1 percent.
Ruturwa warned that unless prevention campaigns were scaled up, about 140 children born of 13,000 pregnant mothers would be infected with HIV in Bugesera.
“UNAIDS is working with partners to support the government in elimination of MTCT. We are working to ensure universal access to PMTCT,” he said.
Kirota Kyampof, a health advisor at the National Aids Control Commission (CNLS), reiterated the need to increase sensitisation of pregnant mothers.
“Mothers have to test for HIV so that if infected they access the Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART),” Kyampof added.
Bugesera Mayor, Louis Rwagaju, reaffirmed the need to put a stop to HIV child infection in the region.
He added that as part of the district performance contract, local leaders are aiming at reducing the MTCT prevalence to 2 percent in other areas and to totally eliminate the scourge in Mayange village.
Rwanda’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs) target for prevention of mother-to-child transmission has been acknowledged as remarkable. Authorities say that 75 percent of pregnant women attending antenatal clinics are tested for HIV.