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3 Bodies Unveil Tool To Prevent Mother-To-Child Transmission Of HIV   
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A new strategic tool to reinforce the national Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) effort has been developed by three entities.

The new educational and entertainment tool titled ‘Mama’s Determination’ was developed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) and the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC).

The PMTCT is aimed at eliminating mother to child HIV transmission by 2015.

The tool consists of a video drama, photo drama book and interactive cards and is aimed at facilitating counselling services for PMTCT at all health facilities.

‘Mama’s Determination’ is the outcome of “Project for Strengthening Operational Capacity of Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT)” which has been implemented for three years in the Greater Accra Region.

The project, has been implemented jointly by GHS and Japanese experts from two Japan-based NGOs, namely the Japanese Organisation for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP) and the Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association (JATA).

Why the new strategy
The development of the tool followed the findings of the situation analysis of the existing PMTCT communication tool conducted in 2012.

It was established that major existing tools were found suitable for giving knowledge but were weak in bringing about behaviour changes in clients.

The expected behaviour changes of the old tool included getting women and lactating mothers to test for HIV and regularly take drugs as instructed, if they are positive.

The survey also showed that knowledge and emotion communication, a characteristic of ‘Mama’s Determination’, were together a requisite for the required behaviour change in the PMTCT of HIV campaign.

The tool has, therefore, been developed to educate and entertain pregnant and nursing mothers in Ghana, motivate them to get tested and encourage HIV positive mothers to continuously take their medications for long, healthy lives.

Ghana AIDS Commission
At a ceremony to unveil ‘Mama’s Determination’ in Accra, the tools were handed over to the Director General of the GHS, Dr Appiah Denkyira, for onward distribution to representatives of all 10 regions to be used by PMTCT facilities.

In a statement read on her behalf, the Director General of the GAC, Dr Angela El-Adas, said in 2012 alone, 852 children were newly infected with HIV in the country.

She said there was a huge gap in addressing the reproductive health needs of women, leading to more morbidity and mortality.

“One major target of the national strategic plan is to reduce the mother- to-child transmission of HIV from 30 per cent, currently to less than five per cent in 2015,” the statement added.

In the statement, Dr El-Adas said the current HIV prevalence rate was 1.9 among pregnant women as reported by the 2013 HIV sentinel survey, reflecting a reduction from 2.1 in the previous year.

She expressed the GAC’s gratitude to JICA and pledged the commission’s commitment to ensure the effective use of the materials to enhance service delivery and increase uptake of services towards the elimination of PMTCT.

Japan government
The Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Naoto Nikai, also pointed out that the government of Japan had been supporting Ghana’s health sector at implement plans, projects and strategies.

He said the major focus areas included maternal and child health, adding, “we continually aim to improving healthcare delivery for pregnant women, nursing mothers and their children.”
Source: Daily Graphic

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