By Moses Masiye
July 18, 2015
The growing tendency of some pregnant women denying or absconding antiretroviral treatment is reportedly hindering prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) initiative in Malawi’s central region district of Ntcheu.
Ntcheu district health office ART cordinator Ackson Chandra said about 20 percent of pregnant women diagonized HIV positive deny or default ARV treatment, thereby contributing to some newborn babies contracting HIV from their mothers.
This comes amid different stakeholders’ efforts to end HIV transmission from mother to child in Malawi.
Chandra said:- “This is contributing to increased number of children born with the virus, though I don’t have the statistics at hand.”
He said most of such women are those who go to antenatal clinic without partners.
Malawi interfaith Aids association (MIAA) one organisation working in Ntcheu district is on record promoting male involvement to end such problems.
MIAA communications officer Ulemu Kusapali told this blogger that they believe couple testing is key to adherence to medication.
“We are implementing Promoting Access to drugs and medication project. With support from Norwegian Church aid, in which we are promoting male involvement so as to deal away with this problem among others,” said Kusapali.
He said pregnant women who go to antenatal clinic without their spouses, fear to break the news when found HIV positive, as a result they do not start treatment, putting at the unborn baby at risk of contracting the virus.
Meanwhile MIAA has involved traditional and religious leaders to ensure that the take a leading role in promoting couple testing and address discrimination challenges still existing in the communities.
The religious and traditional leaders in Ntcheu have so far vowed to take a bold step to make a conducive environment for people who openly declare their HIV status.
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