Under the heading "Nigeria, the largest producer of HIV-infected babies," the Sun newspaper reported a new project to prevent the transmission of HIV-positive mothers to their babies.
At the start, the Nigerian Health Minister said that "there is absolutely no reason why Nigeria should be a major producer of HIV-infected babies." We are contributing about 30% and our goal is elimination.
The World Health Organization determines mother-to-child transmission of HIV to a child as a transmission of the HIV positive mother to her child during pregnancy, childbirth, birth or lactation.
37,000 children infected in Nigeria in 2016
Adewole told Africa that he refers to UNAIDS data showing that in 2016 Nigeria had the highest share (26.9%) of new HIV infected mothers among the 23 priority countries organization.
"This is based on the available data at that time, using existing data on national HIV prevalence, total population, fertility rate and actual coverage of deliberate and HIV care," he said.
Gatien Ekanmian, Strategic Information Adviser at UNAids, told Africa that the organization is using this data to use it in statistical modeling software.
For 2016, UNAids estimated that 37,000 children under 15 were infected with the virus in Nigeria. Mozambique followed 9.6% of new infections (13,000 children) and South Africa with 8.6% or 12,000 children.
Uncertainty in the assessment of the infection for children
But the estimated number of newcomers in Nigeria could reach 22,000 or more than 56,000. This is because researchers have to make more assumptions when it comes to assessing the number of infections in children, explains UNAids. This increases uncertainty.
"For example, the ranges around adult HIV prevalence estimates are lower than those around HIV prevalence estimates among children that require additional data on pregnancy prevalence and the likelihood of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, each of which has its additional uncertainty, "is stated in the method document.
Although the data is for children under 15, and not just for babies, Ekanmen said UNAIDS believes that other types of infections "cause a small proportion of the total number of children acquiring HIV."
New HIV / AIDS Survey for Nigeria
But more accurate data will soon be available.
"In general, Nigeria is conducting one of the largest global studies known as the impact and indicator of the Indian indicator of HIV / AIDS in Nigeria, which is expected to receive preliminary data in early 2019," said Eckmanian .
Frank Lule, the regional counselor on HIV / AIDS at the WHO Regional Office for Africa, said the study would probably show that mother-to-child transmission is lower than previously reported. This is due to the fact that census data has in the past been used to assess the number of children born of HIV-positive women, which has led to an increase in the number of children believed to be infected with HIV by mothers yours.
Pregnant mothers can take precautions
Dr Awoyemi Abayomi, senior lecturer at the Department of Biological Sciences at Tae Solarin University, said lack of awareness was one of the reasons for the high rate of mother-to-child transmission in Nigeria.
"Nigerian women infected with HIV are not aware of the necessary precautions to take before, during and after pregnancy." "To correct the statistics we have to deal with this problem."
The MICS study found that in 2007 only 13% of Nigerian women were tested for HIV and were aware of their status. This figure fell to 11% in 2012, but increased to 34.8% in 2016/17.
Conclusion: In 2016, Nigeria has the largest number of newly infected HIV-positive children from 23 countries
The report on the launch of a new project to prevent HIV from mothers delivering their babies, the Sun newspaper, said Nigeria was "the largest producer of HIV-infected babies."
UNAIDS data show that in 2016 Nigeria has the highest share (26.9%) of new mother-to-child HIV infections from the 23 priority countries. According to him, 37,000 children under the age of 15 were infected with the virus.
However, as HIV data for infants are uncertain, this figure may be at least 22,000 or more than 56,000.
Nigeria is currently conducting one of the largest HIV / AIDS research studies in the world. This can provide a better insight into HIV infection among children in the country.