KIGALI - The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Imbuto Foundation, has stepped up a campaign to eliminate Mother-to -Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS.
Addressing the media yesterday, the Health Minister, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, said that Rwanda is committed to reduce the transmission rate at birth to below two percent by 2015.
“Currently 83 percent of all health facilities in the country offer Prevention of Mother – To – Child Transmission (PMTCT) services, up from 42 percent in 2005,” she observed.
Binagwaho added that in 2003, there were only 53 health facilities that provided PMTCT services, but the number had since increased to 434 which is a great achievement in such a short period.
“Mothers countrywide whether in rural or urban areas can now access these services and we are going to ensure that strategies are successfully implemented so that our children are born HIV free,” she said.
The Minister pointed out that since 2001, the First Lady, Jeanette Kagame, had raised awareness on PMTCT services, encouraging Rwandans to access them in a bid to curb down mother to child transmission.
Radegonde Ndejuru, the Director General, Imbuto Foundation, said that under Mrs Kagame’s patronage, they would ensure that the goal of elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV/Aids is attained.
“We are going to roll out the campaign at community level during the communal work (Umuganda) on 28th this month so that it goes deeper to the grassroots level,” she noted.
Ndejuru added that a high level advocacy meeting will be held on May 31, in each province, to increase awareness. A national EMTCT day will also be held at all health centres in the country on June 3, where discussions on the benefits of PMTCT will be held.
“This will enable them to sensitise the population and as such, assist in disseminating the information at the grass roots level,” she said.
Dr Anita Asiimwe, the Executive Secretary, National Aids Control Commission (CNLS), called upon expectant mothers to go for antenatal care early to know their status and if found HIV positive, start using PMTCT services.
“Our target is to have every health centre in the country provide PMTCT services for the expectant mothers,” she said, adding that this would help them access the services with ease, consequently reducing the number of children born or infected with HIV.
In a statement, Jeanette Kagame said: “looking back at where we have come from and the momentum this initiative has taken in our country as a result of dedicated effort, I am certain that if every mother takes the responsibility to access PMTCT services, we will break the chain of Mother- To- Child transmission and this is possible. I believe that by 2015, we will have attained this goal”.