Health Chief Officer Dr. Malcom Lochodo has surged women to visit health facilities to reduce mother to child HIV transmission.
The rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission in Turkana currently standing at 11 percent way above the national average of 9.7 percent will reduce significantly if expectant mothers would make use of health facilities across the County.
Speaking at a one-day Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on the elimination of mother-to-child transmission(eMTCT) at Lokichar, Lochodo said that the County’s health sector had sufficient infrastructure for providing the full range of maternal health services including HIV screening during pregnancy and handling of HIV-exposed infants.
The Chief Officer pledged to strengthen the supply chain process by working closely with Health Products and Technologies Unit (HPTU) to effectively address the challenge of eMTCT commodities stock-outs moving forward.
Samuel Pulkol, the County AIDS and STI coordinator also encouraged the hospital visits and clarified that the eMTCT strategy was equally effective against Syphilis and Hepatitis B which also negatively affects maternal outcomes.
Pulkol reiterated the need for consistency in the supply of Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) commodities to facilitate timely testing of HIV-exposed infants and initiate corrective measures where necessary.
On his part, Emmanuel Musombi of USAID Imarisha Jamii said that his organization will support the printing and distribution of reporting tools and registers which were in short supply.
The USAID Imarisha Jamii representative reiterated the resolve of his organization in supporting the county to in reducing the rates from the current 11percent to much lower levels and possibly get it to zero percent in the near future.
The meeting brought together County level and sub-county staff responsible for ensuring adherence to set standards during the implementation of programs aimed at keeping mothers and child free from HIV as well as USAID Imarisha Jamii staff.
By Peter Gitonga