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Low awareness limits reduction of mother to child HIV transmission

19th February 2013
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Dr Donan Mmbando

Little awareness and ignorance on the importance of men’s involvement in eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV in the country is cited as a challenge in the fight against the disease.

According to facts, only 18 per cent of male participate in the responsibilities of maternal and child health.

“As long as male participation in eliminating mother to child transmissions remains a challenge, the country’s goal of reducing mother to child HIV transmission to 4 per cent by 2015 will hardly be achieved,” noted the Acting Chief Medical Officer for MenEngage Tanzania network, Dr Donan Mmbando.

Dr Mmbando stated this yesterday in Dar es Salaam in a dialogue conducted by MenEngage Tanzania network with a purpose of establishing strategies that will prevent barriers of men’s participation in eliminating mother to child transmissions.

Dr Mmbando affirmed that recent statistics show that the HIV infection from mother to child in the country lays at 26 per cent which makes 31,000 children born with HIV a year.

“This means that 85 children are born infected with HIV a day,” he said.

Though a few men understand the importance of their participation and get involved but we still need to raise awareness and show them that as partners and fathers they are responsible for their families’ health. 

He called on men to acknowledge the many more lives that can be saved if their partners are supported in accessing life saving services such as the prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT).

“There is a need to create a broad response for the elimination of pediatric HIV as half of the population cannot be excluded in the process,” he emphasised.

Meanwhile, USAID Gender Based Violence Advisor, Hilary Mathews summarised the key message of the dialogue stating that, “men need to be educated on the importance of adhering to HIV treatments, antenatal, care and breastfeeding practices something that will help ensure the prevention of mother to child transmission.”

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN