First Lady Worried About High Mother-To-Child HIV-AIDS Spread

Lordina-Mahama11The First Lady, Mrs. Lordina Mahama, has  expressed worry over the high prevalence of HIV/AIDS in the country especially, the mother-to-child-transmission.

HIV/AIDS transmission from mothers to their babies she noted, contributed  partly to the death of children under five years, a situation, she said though worrisome, could be prevented.

Speaking during an advocacy meeting here on the theme: ‘Prevention of mother-to-child transmission-The key to an HIV free generation’, Mrs Mahama indicated that without diagnosis and treatment, about 40 per cent HIV-infected pregnant women in the country would transmit HIV to their infants, if not found and prevented.

“Fortunately, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) can be accomplished through simple effective intervention existing within maternal and child health services which are available in our health facilities’.

Touching on other health isues, the First Lady said apart from HIV/AIDS, breast and cervical cancer were also posing serious health problems in the country as some of women died from the disease.

“About 2,900 Ghanaian women are said to be diagnosed with breast cancer out of which half the number died she said and added that “statistics from the Ghana Health Service indicated that 3,038 women were diagnosed annually with cervical cancer, out of which 2,006 of them died”.

Those figures she noted, were cases reported to health facilities but added that due to lack of education a lot more women died in silence in their homes without reporting to the hospitals.

The First Lady stressed the need to address the issue so as to reduce the impact of the disease and to improve the quality of life of women in the country; hence, the establishment of Organisation of African First Ladies (OAFLA) project to deal with triple burden of mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, breast and cervical cancer.

The Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayitey, observed that the prevalence rate of HIV undermined the economic development agenda of the country, as the nation  needed healthy people to drive the economy.

She, however, appealed to stakeholders to put in their maximum efforts to reduce the high prevalence of the disease in the country.
The Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, Dr Angela El-Adas said the Commission would continue to collaborate with the First lady to ensure that the national and global targets in prevention of mother-to-child transmission were achieved.

“The second objective is to empower women to take charge of their reproductive health needs by creating awareness, providing prevention education as well as screening outreaches for breast cancer and cervical cancer” she said, adding that the Commission was proud to collaborate with the First Lady.

The Eastern Regional Minister, Mrs Helen Adjoa Ntoso, said though the region continued to record the highest prevalence  of the disease, significant progress had been made in providing HIV prevention, and care support services to those who need them.

‘However, with the high prevalence among women visiting antenatal clinics in the region, there is the possibility of high vertical transmission from mothers to the unborn babies if the HIV positive women are not utilising preventive methods being provided”.

She indicated that the situation posed serious threat to efforts being made to attain the MDGs 6 and therefore urged all stakeholders to work tirelessly to curb the spread of the disease.  From Ama Tekyiwaa Ampadu-Nyarko,

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