Eliminating the transmission of HIV from pregnant mothers to children is no small task in a region where HIV/AIDS prevails at a high rate of 6.3%. But that is Anna Beatrice’s ambition for Aboke.
As the midwife in charge of the maternity ward at the Aboke Health Centre, Anna Beatrice has the potential to make a dramatic impact on HIV prevention. When asked how HIV/AIDS has affected Aboke, Anna Beatrice tells us mother to child transmission is particularly problematic, since breastfeeding mothers will unknowingly pass the disease to their children, continuing the cycle of HIV/AIDS. As a result, she has initiated a treatment program for infected mothers and pregnant women. But it is not always an issue of infrastructure – in a rural community like Aboke, Anna Beatrice must draw the community in for testing and treatment.
By supporting vulnerable youth, CAP/AIDS was able to assist Anna Beatrice in her mission. Through our HIV Prevention program, these adolescents were provided with training on how to generate income, as well as education on HIV/AIDS. By breaking down the stigma associated with the disease, the choice to obtain testing and treatment becomes much clearer. As a result, Anna Beatrice says, ‘They requested me to go and test all of them. I was very pleased with them.’ These activities serve to better the lives of individuals, but also build trust and support as a community.
Now that the way to HIV prevention is laid out, Anna Beatrice has continued her work preventing mother to child transmission by ‘involving VHTs [Voluntary HIV Testers], to help us to mobilize, to teach them to come and test themselves.’ Anna Beatrice can achieve her goal because she does not rely just on hospitals and drugs, but also the trust and engagement of the whole community.
With support from donors across Canada, the CAP/AIDS Network is working with the Aboke Health Centre and the Aboke HIV/AIDS Women’s Association to improve knowledge and access to full cycle Prevention of Mother-to-Child transmission services. Together we are conducting outreach and education sessions among local youth, working to increase HIV testing and providing care and counselling support for HIV-positive mothers.
April 24, 2014
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