CALABAR – A Non-Governmental Organisation, Development Options, said it had begun the training of 100 traditional birth attendants in Cross River on how to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV.
The Project Manager of the organisation, Ms Ukeme Ekong, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar on Sunday.
Ekon said that the training of the attendants commenced in May, 2014 and would last for 18 months.
She said that at the end of the programme, the organization would use the birth attendants to inculcate in no fewer than 5,552 targeted pregnant women in the state, the habit of attending ante-natal clinics.
She said that the organisation was faith-based and was being assisted by the World Bank and State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA) in Cross River, in implementing HIV/AIDs programme in the state.
According to her, while SACA provides technical support to us, the World Bank assists with funds.
“Development Options is working on social behavioral change for increased anti-natal care and prevention of mother-to-child transmission by pregnant women under our maternal and child health project.
“Our target is to reach out to 5,552 pregnant women with necessary information on the need to access health facilities or ante-natal care while patronizing traditional birth attendants,” Ekon said.
She disclosed that a survey conducted by the organization in the state in 2013 showed that 900 pregnant women had their babies under the care of traditional birth attendants.
She said that the number contrasted with 200 women whose babies were delivered at primary healthcare centers during the period.
Ekon explained that most pregnant women in the area patronized traditional birth attendants because the public health centers lacked functional equipment and qualified personnel.
She stated that the organization was currently working in nine communities in Calabar South Local Government Area of the state.
She therefore called on the state government to provide equipment and qualified personnel in the health centres to ensure improved healthcare in the rural areas.
When NAN visited the Creek Town training centre for the programme in Calabar South, one of the trainees, Mrs Blessing Ita, described the training as “tremendously beneficial.”
Ita said that she had become better informed about HIV/AIDS.
“I am more informed now than before about prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.
“I believe strongly that this will help me in the way I do my work to prevent pregnant women from contracting or passing the virus to their babies,” she said. (NAN)