SAID yesterday Monday, 14 November 2016 took its Capacity Building initiative for health care professionals to Ahiazu Mbaise Local Governmenet Area on PMTCT. SAID Team was welcomed by TC Chairman, Chief Cletus Onwuegule. The workshop was held at the LG Council Hall, Afor Oru. It is one of the activities in a 2-year mobilization and social change Campaign of SAID in Imo State. The capacity building was precisely for community health care staff, pharmacists, staff of clinics, traditional health attendants in the LGA.

The capacity building was facilitated by SAID team led by Richard Nwamadi, SAID Project Manager and the resources person and Imo State Programme Officer of Civil Society in Malaria Control, Immunization and Nutrition (ACOMlN). It was a 1-day training/workshop for health staff and traditional birth attendants on Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT). After the presentation, there was an interactive section. HIV compromises the body immunity and make it prone to opportunistic infections. Among the symptom are headache, reduction of up to 10% body weight, oral thrush, skin rashes in addition to persistent fever and cough.

HIV is not hereditary but contacted through unprotected sex with an infected person, sharing of body piercing instruments, use of infected blood and blood products and infected mother-to-child transmission during pregnancy delivering and breastfeeding. Although there is no cure yet, the virus is preventable and manageable with Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).

The goodnews is that HIV positive mother can give birth to a HIV negative child if she follows up with PMTCT services as obtainable in comprehensive health facilities across the state. Health care providers should be precautious and enjoin the public to stop stigmatization and discrimination against People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWH). Pregnant mothers and women in reproductive ages are to be encourage to imbibe the attending regular antenatal to ensure the safety of mother and child.

One of the approaches that has been helpful in stemming HIV is the ABC approach: A - Abstinence, B - Being Faithful and C - Careful and Consistence use of condoms as well as other precautionary measures.

Participants were encouraged become agents of social mobilization for behaviour and attitude changes in the LG. They were also charged to encourage people who come to them to avail themselves of HIV counselling and testing services at centres nearest to them to ascertain their HIV status.

Speaking earlier, SAID Director of Operations, Arch. Teddy lhens thanked the LGA for the collaboration with SAID. He equally appreciated the funders of the 2-year project sponsored by Positive Action For Children Fund (PACF) United Kingdom. The capacity building workshop is part of the activities in the project is currently running in 3 LGAs in the state viz: Obowo, Ahiazu Mbaise and lhitte Uboma. He extolled the PACF, UK and local partners for the smooth collaboration enjoyed since the take-off the project in Imo. He praised the selfless engagement of the funder of SAID, Chikezie Onuoha MSP, who is using his creative and innovative talents in working for a better Nigeria and a better world, where poverty and illiteracy no longer dehumanize individuals and communities and wealth is created for all.

Chief Onwuegbule, TC Chairman charged the health workers to take the training seriously and put to good use the knowledge acquired to help minimize the spread of HIV/AIDS and eventually eradicate its menace in our society. He lauded SAID for the mobilization, Capacity building of Health Care Professionals in Imo State and especially for the programme in Ahiazu Mbaise LGA in this special area PMTCT.

SAID is present in the UK, Switzerland, USA, Cameroon, Sweden, and Nigeria.

Audrey Duru (SAID, Nigeria)