Panafrican News Agency

Congo's First Lady highlights urgency for prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission

Brazzaville, Congo (PANA) - Congo's First Lady Antoinette Sassou Nguesso has underlined the urgency for prevention of pediatric mother-to-child HIV transmission in the country.

She made the remark on Monday during a  working visit to the Nkayi Rreferral Hospital in Bouenza, in the south of the country, the Congolese public radio announced.

Congo is one of the first countries in Africa to set up a programme to combat mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), she said.


"Today, despite the free measures, we have backed down in this fight because of, among other things, the lack of a broad awareness of the danger that the disease represents for our children," she said.

Antoinette Sassou Nguesso has appealed to all politico-administrative actors, civil society, religious denominations to raise awareness even in the most remote regions of the country.

For her part, Congolese Minister of Health and Population, Jacqueline Lydia Mikolo, took stock of the situation regarding mother-to-child HIV transmission.


She said that analysis of HIV testing data among pregnant women indicates a variation in HIV status by age and is significant from 15 to 45 years of age.

According to Mikolo, 698 pregnant women, or 11%, received antiretrovirals as part of the prevention of this transmission and 2.6% of children born to HIV-positive mothers have received antiretroviral prophylaxis.


In 2017, she continued, the average prevalence rate was 1.8% with disparities according to the departments and among children aged 0 to 14, 0.42% or 9,100 children living with HIV in the country, according to the report of the epidemiological sero-surveillance study carried out the same year.

In addition, the minister spoke of the bottlenecks that undermine the scaling up of interventions on PMTCT and the access of children to treatment. These bottlenecks relate, among other things, to the programmatic environment for the provision of health care and services, community planning, the low dissemination of PMTCT standards and procedures.

"The government is sparing no effort to remove these bottlenecks at all levels of the system because it is important for Congo to develop a plan to accelerate the elimination of mother and child from HIV" said Mikolo.
-0- PANA MB/BEH/KND/AR 10Mar2020