by crossriverwatch admin
To stem the high incidences of mother to child transmission of HIV in communities in Calabar South, a nongovernmental organization, Development Option, DO, has undertaken the process of educating pregnant women and Traditional Birth Attendants on safe birth practices.
Speaking to CrossRiverWatch during one of her advocacy visits to the Eserebom Village Health Center which operates in the parlor of the Village Head, Miss Ukeme Ekong, the Project Manager of Development Option, said the sensitization involve providing the pregnant women and Traditional Birth Attendants with adequate information on how to ensure the child in the womb is protected from contracting the virus and also during delivery.
According to her, the highest risk period of baby contracting the virus is during delivery and records indicate that most pregnant women prefer giving birth in the homes of Traditional Birth Attendants who are often unfamiliar with the risk the baby is exposed to at such period . “Records indicate that out of 1100 births in Calabar South in 2011, only 200 were in health centers while 900 were done in the homes of Traditional Birth Attendants”.
She said it is often traumatizing for a child to test positive from day one and thereon begin to take anti retroviral drugs when his immune system is yet to be fully developed as a human being. “Such a child will not grow up normally because the time he should be studying in class, he is taken out to be administered drugs and even his play life will be affected that is why we have to do everything to stop mother to child transmission of HIV”.
Miss Ekong revealed that most pregnant women preffer the Traditional Birth Attendants because they feel the TBAs are more friendly and often resort to prayers when there is any challenge during delivery while there exist the notion that women who attend anti natal care in health centers “when they have any difficulty during child birth the doctors will tear them open and this scares the women into patronizing the TBAs”
She also attributed the influx of expectant mothers to the TBAs to the lack of basic facilities in the health centers. “Most of these health centers have no basic facilities and drugs such that even during delivery you have to bring your generator which makes the women see no reason to give birth there”.
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