By Badre Bahaji
“Here at the hospital, pregnant women are advised that they should get screened, and if the test comes back positive, we do everything we can to take care of them. They are followed throughout their pregnancy until delivery” Halime Issa*, 29, is in charge of the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV unit at the Bol Hospital in the region of Lac and President of the association of people living with HIV. “HIV-positive women and their children are treated together before and after delivery. With the medication, the child has a good chance of being born healthy.”
“The day I learned I was infected, I was pregnant and had just lost my husband to AIDS. I was ready to give up and let myself die in my village,” said Meram Adam*, 37, widow and mother of seven. “The doctor reassured me that HIV is a disease like any other, and I accepted the treatment at the beginning of my pregnancy. My child was born HIV negative, which was the most important thing to me. I didn’t want him to suffer like us.”
Meram regularly visits the Bol Hospital and has joined the association of people living with HIV. She often attends sensitization meetings to help other women going through the same situation. Today, she got back on her feet, she grinds peanuts and makes spaghetti with a mill she bought to support herself and her family.
« I’ve had four stillborn children and two abortions, and my seventh pregnancy was finally normal. During my previous pregnancies, I did not know that I was infected with HIV/AIDS. It was through prenatal consultations that I found out my serology. The doctors and nurses at the Bol Hospital monitored me throughout my pregnancy. They gave me medication and advice, and I was able to deliver under the right conditions. I was under treatment and I delivered two beautiful twins. Today, they are in excellent health.”
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria is strengthening the national HIV response to expand prevention to comprehensive care for populations at high risk of HIV infection.
Between 2012 and 2015, 36 regional micro-plans for the 10 priority regions were developed. and substantial results have been observed. The proportion of pregnant women receiving ARVs increased from 12% in 2012 to 25% in 2014, 39% in 2015 and 57.15% by the end of 2016. Geographical coverage increased from 23% in 2013 to 52% in 2016 at the national level and 85% in the 10 targeted regions.
*Names were changed