In a groundbreaking move, the Institute of Human Virology (IHVN) has intensified its community-led efforts for maternal health and HIV prevention in the Federal Capital Territory.
The institute, renowned for its comprehensive services in HIV and TB, is specifically focusing on pregnant women who may face challenges accessing healthcare facilities.
Senior programme officer and PMTCT focal person at IHVN, Mrs. Helen Mutong highlighted this initiative during a ‘mother’s love’ party organised by the institute in Mpape, Abuja. The party is an IHVN initiative designed to sensitise women in communities about baby care, personal and environmental hygiene, the importance of immunisation, registration and antenatal care. IHVN provides mother-care packs containing items such as sanitary pads, gloves and cotton wool at these events.
Mutong shared that 25 pregnant women, 17 breastfeeding mothers and nine children received free HIV counseling and testing services at the ‘mother’s love’ party in Mpape. IHVN actively engages communities, collaborates with local focal persons, and advocates with community leaders, taking cues from the World AIDS Day liaison team.
She stressed the significance of reaching pregnant women who have not enrolled in any care facility. The strategy involves community mobilisation, women sensitisation and awareness creation to ensure informed decision-making about accessing crucial healthcare services. Services provided include HIV testing, blood sugar tests, height and weight checks and syphilis tests. Any diagnosed abnormalities prompt immediate referrals to appropriate facilities for comprehensive care.
IHVN is committed to extending this approach to all facilities in the FCT, ensuring that pregnant women receive essential health services, irrespective of their initial reluctance to access care in traditional facilities. This pioneering approach represents a significant step forward in breaking down barriers to maternal health and HIV prevention, setting a new standard for community-led healthcare initiatives.
Assistant PMTCT focal person for FCT, Ms. Murjanatu Adamu emphasised the crucial role of early enrollment in antenatal care. Collaborating with IHVN for the party, their joint aim is to capture pregnant women early for HIV testing, preventing further transmission. Adamu stressed the need for appropriate life measures within the community to ensure effective HIV prevention.
IHVN’s community-led efforts mark a commendable initiative in bridging gaps in healthcare access, particularly for vulnerable populations like pregnant women. The institute’s commitment to holistic care and proactive outreach reflects a transformative approach to maternal health and HIV prevention.