PREVENTION OF MOTHER-TO-CHILD HIV TRANSMISSION CAMPAIGNS ON KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES AMONG WOMEN IN SOUTHEAST NIGERIA

PREVENTION OF MOTHER-TO-CHILD HIV TRANSMISSION CAMPAIGNS ON KNOWLEDE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES AMONG WOMEN IN SOUTHEAST NIGERIA

 

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Transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her child during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding is called Mother-to-Child Transmission (MCT). This is one avenue that has fundamentally aided the infection of
children with the dreaded HIV disease. This menace of mother-to-childtransmission has been very devastating. Many children have been infected which has resulted to their early deaths. According to a progressive report in 2012 by UNAIDS, an estimate of 3.4 million children younger than 15 years were living with HIV globally in 2011, 91% of them in Sub-Saharan Africa (where Nigeria is situated), while an estimated 230 thousand children died from AIDS-related illness in the same year. It was also reported that mother-to-child transmission accounts for more than 90% pediatric AIDS. To effectively combat the MCT malaise, the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) was introduced. This introduction heralded countless number of PMTCT campaigns globally, including Nigeria. Therefore, the critical question that necessitated this study is, what is the influence of the PMTCT campaigns on the knowledge, attitudes and practice among Nigerian women? Using Survey Research Method and Multi-Stage Sampling Technique, women in 6 selected states from the 6 geo-political zones of Nigeria (1 state from each of the zones) were studied. In the end, findings revealed amongst others that though the knowledge level, attitudes and practice of PMTCT among Nigerian women isabysmally
low. Based on the findings, it was recommended, amongst others,that organizations, agencies and other bodies involved in packaging PMTCT campaigns should design and disseminate adequate, specific clear and very
convincing messages to the women. This will help improve their knowledge on the PMTCT programme which will consequently secure the right attitude in them and herald an improved level of practice. When this is achieved, mother-to-child transmission would have been drastically reduced.
Keywords: Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV •Campaign •Knowledge •Attitude •Practice

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Introduction
The scourge of HIV/AIDS has, no doubt, continued to ravage virtually all parts of the world. According to statistics, 34 million people are estimated to be living with HIV worldwide; 16.7 million of these are women and 3.4 million are children younger than 15 years of age. In 2011, a total of 2.5 million people were newly infected with HIV globally; an estimation of 330 thousand of these new infections are children under 15 years of age. Also in 2011, the world recorded 1.7 million deaths orchestrated by AIDS of which 230 thousand children under 15 years of age were involved (UNAIDS, 2012).
According to the National Agency for the control of AIDS (NACA), Nigeria has an estimated 3.1 million people living with HIV/AIDS, with an annual HIV positive births of 56, 681, a cumulative AIDS deaths of 2.1 million and an annual AIDS death of 215, 130 people (NACA, 2011). Statistics from the agency further show that an estimated 281, 180 new HIV infections have been recorded; 126, 260 are adults while 154, 920 children were involved in the new infections. Women, however, constitute 57% of adults infected with HIV in the country (NACA, 2011, FMOH and MASI, 2006). The pandemic is, no doubt, having a serious effect on the reproductive health of women (Adeleke, Mukhtar and Gwarzo, 2009, p.21).
Globally, the number of women dying from AIDS related causes during pregnancy or within 42 days after pregnancy was estimated to be 37 million. Also, among the 21 high priority countries (including Nigeria), 33,000 pregnancy – related deaths among women were recorded (UNAIDS, 2012 and 2011). Statistics also indicate that maternal mortality was still very high in Nigeria (630/100,000 live births) (UNAIDS, 2011).
From the figures presented above, it is very correct to aver that in all the HIV infections and deaths, children have continued to be seriously victimized. One avenue that has fundamentally aided the infection of children with this deadly disease (HIV) is Mother-to-Child Transmission (MCT). This has, no doubt, served as a major pathway for the spread of the HIV virus. For instance, in Nigeria alone, UNAIDS reported that an estimated 84, 200 children were newly infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission in 2009.

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