The UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has urged the media to focus more on the reportage of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and AIDS to ensure a society free of HIV children.
The fund’s Communications Specialist in Nigeria, Mr Geoffrey Njoku, made the call in Calabar Tuesday at a three-day workshop to reinvigorate and produce a work plan for journalists.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the journalists are members of the Journalist’s Alliance for the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (MTCT) of HIV and AIDS (JAPiN).
The workshop was organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF.
Njoku, who said that the media needed to provide an update on the current status of HIV and AIDS in the country, added that the media needed to bring back HIV and AIDS to the front burner by educating pregnant women on the importance of MTCT.
The Associate Professor of Pediatric Respiratory/Infectious Disease, University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Dr Atana Ewa, said that the management of children living with HIV needed more focus, attention and enlightenment.
Ewa stressed the need for increased screening among women of childbearing age and pregnant women to check the spread of the virus.
She said: “We need to ensure reduction of prenatal transmission, give antiretroviral drugs to pregnant women and during breastfeeding.”
She noted that for treatment modalities, acute bacterial infections must be addressed with the treatment of opportunistic infections.
She advised that every pregnant woman should be tested for HIV to have proper data and start Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission for positive mothers.