By Zayamu Hassan
The Federal Government has appealed to pregnant women in Nigeria to attend antenatal care at the health centres nearest to them in order to access services including test for HIV and Syphilis.
The Director of Family Health department at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Salma Anas Kolo, disclosed this at a media briefing in Abuja.
She noted that the appealed was in order to prevent Mother-To-Child transmission of HIV and Syphilis.
“This is an opportunity for us to call on all Nigerian pregnant women to attend antenatal clinic at any nearest health facility to them and get themselves tested for HIV and Syphilis.
“By doing that we can prevent the transmission of HIV from the infected mother to the unborn baby and avert the transmission of Syphilis which is also very dangerous to the unborn baby.
“It causes still-birth, miscarriages and death and brain damage leading to malformation to the unborn baby. It also affects the heart. So, implications are so numerous.
“So, it is cheaper and more cost effective to prevent the transmission of Syphilis from an infected mother to the child. The good news is that both are almost 100 per cent preventable. But only if women that are pregnant avail themselves to be tested of syphilis.”
She further disclosed that the federal government has concluded plans to give technical support and guidance to state that are worst hit by Cholera in the country.
According to her, Kano, Jigawa and Bauchi are the states worst hit by Cholera in the country, stressing that more than 48 per cent of the Cholera cases reported in the country are from these three states.
“Efforts are ongoing by the health ministry in collaboration with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) to continue to provide support to the states through the national response in a well-coordinated manner.
“We continue step up in providing technical support and guidance to the states that are worst affected by cholera. “At the moment we have recorded some slow progress and success in the worst affected states.
“We have conducted some trainings for health workers for early detection and prompt treatment of victims of cholera outbreak.
“Unfortunately, the outbreak is among children between the age of 5-14 years. This is closely link to lack of access to portable clean water and also poor defecation practices and poor hygiene.”
Dr. Anas Kolo, however, said that the ministry was intensifying its collaboration with partners on the need to re-invigorate the Water Sanitation and Health (WASH) programme in the relevant sectors of the economy considering it requires multi-sectoral approach.
“It has to do with sanitation, toileting facilities available and personal hygiene. We are working closely with the ministries of water resources, information and culture and the ministry of environment who are very critical partners in this.
“We have developed a framework at the national level that require to be operationalized at the state level to adopt similar approach so that the populace, especially, in the worst affected areas can have access to clean water,” she said.
The Director further explained that: “Part of the response we have undertaken is the distribution of essential response commodities at the point of need including hygiene kits for affected states, using traditional medium of information transmission in most of the worst affected states.
“Hand washing is very important in the prevention of the cholera. At any time, you are handling food, hand washing is very key with running water and soap. Where soap is not available, we encourage the use of ashes and table salt.”