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Men key to stop mother to child HIV transmission: study


15:32, December 06, 2012


NAIROBI, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Men play a critical role in the prevention of HIV transmission from the mother to child, a senior government official said on late Tuesday.

Minister for Special Programs Esther Murungi told journalists in Nairobi that men often make key decisions in household management and resources when it is time for their spouses to deliver.

"They therefore have the power to change their partners' attitude in order to avoid transmission of HIV from mother to child," Murungi said during the launch of a study comparing HIV follow-up services with HIV-exposed infants (HEI) in Kenya.

The research, which was conducted by the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF), indicates that providing services within the Maternal Child and Health Clinics (MCH) shows better results compared to HIV dedicated comprehensive care clinic model.

She noted that Kenya has already integrated HIV services for pregnant women into routine mother and child services so as to net more HIV positive women into treatment program and stop the transmission.

Global statistics indicate that child born of a HIV positive mother have on average, a 40 percent risk of contracting HIV if no action is taken.

"However, Kenya has reduced the risk to 16 percent through an effective Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT) Program from 27 percent back in 2002," the minister said.

"I strongly believe we can bring this number down to less than 5 percent by strengthening health systems capacity to deal with the infectious disease," she said.

Murungi said seven out of 10 HIV positive pregnant mothers in Kenya are also receiving important interventions to interrupt HIV transmission to their babies.

According to the Kenya's National 2012 PMTCT guidelines released by the Ministry of Health, the HIV-MCH integration model of following up HIV exposed infants and their mothers are preferred method.

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