HEALTH

Alarm over rising mother-to-child HIV transmission in Kiambu

Transmission rate has risen from five per cent in 2018 to nine per cent in 2021

In Summary
  • Officials say situation not only limited to Kiambu but has spread to other counties.
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme manager at the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP) Francis Ndwiga during a training workshop in Thika on Monday, September 20, 2021
Prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme manager at the National AIDS and STI Control Programme (NASCOP) Francis Ndwiga during a training workshop in Thika on Monday, September 20, 2021
Image: JOHN KAMAU

 

Health officials have raised the alarm over increasing rates of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Kiambu county.

The county's infection rate was at five per cent in 2018 and has since risen to nine per cent. The national average stands at 10.8 per cent.

Prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme manager at the National AIDS and STI Control Programme Francis Ndwiga said concerted efforts are needed to reverse the trend.

Ndwiga spoke in Thika on Monday during training of trainers of trainees including subcounty reproductive health coordinators, subcounty HIV coordinators and subcounty community health vocal persons.

He said the menace was not only limited to Kiambu but has spread to other counties.

The official said the national government was working closely with the counties to bring down the transmission rate to below five per cent and eventually to zero.

“We are working towards reducing the infections to zero and some of the key interventions we have made include coming up with an integrated model and placing the component of community-based PMTCT programme and use of various innovations to address the matter within specific counties,” Ndwiga said.

Ndwiga said the community-based PMTCT training which will be cascaded to the household level is aimed at empowering individuals, families and the community to take responsibility for their health.

“We have realised that without the community, we cannot achieve our goal of reducing the transmissions to zero. We will be checking and evaluating the contributing factors towards the rise of mother-to-child transmission rates and offer requisite training to women of reproductive age who are living with or are at risk of contracting HIV across the country to enable them deliver children who are safe from the virus,” Ndwiga said.

Kiambu county public health director Teresia Wanjiru said the training of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) will be rolled out across all 60 wards.

She said the county embarked on the community-based PMTCT training programme to ensure information on prevention trickles down to household levels

“We realised that the reason why many children are turning positive after birth is that many mothers are not aware or they attended their clinics when it was too late. We know we have to educate them so as to prevent their babies from contracting the disease. We will trickle down the education to household level because everything happens there,” Wanjiru said.

Kiambu Governor James Nyoro's wife Sarah Karanja who officially opened the week-long training said she will lead a campaign to reduce the transmission rate to zero.

She said the campaign will support CHWs and CHVs who will be educating the community at the grassroots levels.

“Most women of the reproductive age who are expectant or are planning to conceive are unaware of how to prevent their children from being HIV positive. Most suffer from stigma and hence skip crucial clinics. This campaign will take the vital education and information to residents at their doorsteps in our march towards zero infections in our county,”  she said.

 

Edited by P.O

sub-county reproductive health coordinators, sub-county HIV coordinators and sub-county community health vocal persons from Kiambu county during the training in Thika.
CENTRAL: Health officials raise alarm over rising mother-to-child-transmission HIV rates in Kiambu sub-county reproductive health coordinators, sub-county HIV coordinators and sub-county community health vocal persons from Kiambu county during the training in Thika.
Image: John Kamau