Babies with HIV account for 16pc of new infections

National

By OGIA MIAMEL
BABIES account for 16 per cent of the new HIV infections annually in the country, according to Health Department epidemiologist Dr Michelle Budwitz.
Speaking at the opening of a National Capital District HIV surveillance training for monitoring and evaluation (M and E) focal persons and service providers in Port Moresby yesterday, Budwitz said: “Data collection is very important in the AIDS programme.
“This is really critical because 16 per cent of new infections annually are newborns.
“We can prevent that. There shouldn’t be any babies infected with HIV.
“In 2017, 14 sites (in NCD) submitted 100 per cent of their data up to July and September, so what I want to show here is, we are not getting the antenatal care (ANC) data, and then, we have those sites that are using the one report doing ANC but they are not recording their ANC data.
“It’s really important because 16 per cent of our new infections come from transmission from mother to child. We need to see where the problem is, and it’s hard to see where the problem is if we are not getting ANC-specific data.
“Is it happening in the baby clinics or the ANC clinics. We don’t know where the breakdown is.”
Budwitz said it was important
for health facilities, the Health Department and partners to have
reliable data to help guide them in antiretroviral (ART) drugs procurement or coming up with HIV programmes targeting specific problems.
“The objective of this training is to build capacity of M and E focal persons and health workers in data collection and reporting and building capacity for M and E focal persons to utilise data at health facility level for quality improvements.”
Budwitz said the training would enable health workers in NCD to increase their report submissions, collect data in HIV using surveillance data collection tools, be able to accurately complete their data collection and that would boost their confidence in submitting accurate and timely reports to the Health Department and partners.

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