Sunyani, April 30, GNA – Strict adherence to the usage of prophylaxis, an HIV drug, has reduced Mother-to-child transmission of the virus at the Brong-Ahafo Regional Hospital in Sunyani.
Statistics from the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission unit of the hospital indicates that out of the 1,736 pregnant women who accessed antenatal care at the unit last year, 94 of them tested HIV positive.
Mrs. Beatrice Obeng, Head of the PMTCT, told journalists that 64 of the HIV infected pregnant women were put on prophylaxis to protect their unborn babies from infection.
She said because of the effective usage of the drug, 60 of the babies were born without infection.
The media practitioners were at the Unit to acquaint themselves with the HIV situation. The visit formed part of a three-day training workshop on HIV organised by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) at Abesim, near Sunyani.
It was attended by 50 participants made up of journalists and radio presenters drawn from the various districts and municipalities of the Region. The workshop, among other things, was aimed at updating the knowledge of participants on HIV/AIDS reporting.
Mrs. Obeng said although most of the women were reluctant to go through the test, the unit had taken it as a responsibility to encourage them to do so.
“Because of the education given them, most of the pregnant women have accepted the challenge to go for the test”, she said.
Mrs. Obeng said every month more than 500 pregnant women accessed the facility and expressed worry that stigma and discrimination impeded HIV testing and adherence to treatment, a situation which negatively impacted on the quality of life of those living with the AIDS virus.
Dr Joseph Amuzu, Director of Policy and Planning of the GAC, said stigma and discrimination weakened the ability of individuals and communities to protect themselves from HIV and to stay healthy if diagnosed HIV-positive.
He said stigma and discrimination were barriers to achieving universal access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support and hindered progress towards achieving the health related Millennium Development Goals.
Dr. Amuzu said in spite of the great progress made by the GAC and its partners in stabilizing the HIV epidemic, a lot more could be done, especially towards preventing mother-to-child-transmission.