(By Gracia Obi)
The FCT Agency for the Control of AIDS (FACA) said it has plans to educate and sensitise traditional birth attendants on HIV testing and prevention. Dr. Uche Okoro, project manager, FACA, told newsmen in Abuja that the exercise would be conducted in the six area councils of the FCT.
Okoro said that the healthcare workers in the primary health care centres would be encouraged to identify with the traditional birth attendants in their wards.
This, he said, was to enable the health workers and the traditional birth attendants work together as partners, to ensure zero new infections and reduce maternal mortality.
“We have been able to have a little mapping of traditional birth attendants in the six area councils.We want to know how many of traditional birth attendants are in each ward, because we know many of them are available in these wards,” he said.Okoro said that the agency would find out the number of pregnant women who patronised traditional birth attendants.
He said the agency planned to engage them, to ensure that every pregnant woman receives ante-natal care in the health centres. “Since pregnant women still go to traditional birth attendants to deliver,ours is to see how we can collaborate with them to actually know those pregnant women that are at risk and what they should do.Not only to prevent HIV, but to also prevent maternal deaths in that category of pregnant women,” he explained.
Okoro said the agency’s major interest was to reduce maternal mortality rate, which was very high in the country. He said the traditional birth attendants would be trained and educated on the necessary things they should know about HIV and AIDS. “Also for them to ensure that their clients go through HIV counseling and testing, for their safety and that of their unborn babies,” he said.
Okoro said the traditional birth attendants would be instructed to refer any pregnant woman that was HIV positive to primary health centres close to them.