An Assistant Director and Head of Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission of the United Nations Children’s Fund in Nigeria, Dr. Ijaodola Olugbenga, has stated that Nigeria is the second largest country with the HIV virus in the world.
Olugbenga stated this on Monday during the first day of a two-day media dialogue on PMTCT in Calabar, Cross River State.
He said of the global burden of children living with HIV, Nigeria accounts for 12.4 per cent, which is estimated at 267,000, according to a UNAIDS 2017 report.
He, however, reiterated that Nigeria is committed to the goal of eliminating the mother to child transmission by 2020 and has initiated a number of policies and strategies to reduce the impact.
Olugbenga also noted that nine million women in Nigeria are estimated to be pregnant in the country per year, based on fertility rate and population, and out of that figure, only 40 per cent of them make use of established health facilities and mothers who already have the virus give birth to 8.4 per cent of children with the virus in the country.
He also decried the issue of stigmatization,
He said stigmatization kills more than the virus itself.
Earlier, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, enjoined the media to champion the cause of children to live free of the virus.
The Minister, who was represented by Olumide Osanyipeju, Head, Child Rights Information Bureau of the Ministry, said the Federal Government is on track to bring health services to every child since a large number of children are exposed to the virus.
The Eagle Online reports that the programme is a two-day media dialogue on prevention of mother to child transmission for the training of media practitioners.