NACA Reinforces Commitment to Prevent HIV Transmission to Newborns on Children’s Day

NACA's Commitment on Children’s Day

Children’s Day, commemorated on Monday, May 27, 2024, carried a significant message from Nigeria’s National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA). The agency reaffirmed its earnest commitment to combating the transmission of HIV from mothers to their newborns, a vital focus of its broader mission to eliminate the public health threat posed by HIV in Nigeria by 2023. This renewed pledge underscores the importance of safeguarding the health of Nigerian children and acknowledges the critical role of the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services in achieving this goal.

The Role of Temitope Ilori

In her address, the agency’s director general, Temitope Ilori, emphasized that no child deserves to be born with HIV, especially given the significant advancements in medical technology and innovations that have occurred in recent years. She highlighted the strides Nigeria has made in reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission but also acknowledged the ongoing challenges in ensuring that every pregnant woman living with HIV receives the necessary care and treatment to prevent the virus from being passed to her child.

Achieving Zero Transmission

Achieving Zero Transmission

The ultimate goal, according to NACA, is to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Nigeria entirely. Achieving this ambitious target will require a concerted effort from various sectors, including government agencies, healthcare providers, civil society organizations, and communities. Ilori called for this collective action, stressing that a multi-faceted approach is crucial to tackling the issue effectively.

Key Strategies

Several key strategies have been outlined by NACA to reach this goal:

  • Antiretroviral Therapy (ART): Providing antiretroviral therapy to pregnant women living with HIV is a cornerstone of NACA’s strategy. ART has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission.
  • Safe Delivery Practices: Ensuring that pregnant women have access to safe delivery practices that minimize the risk of HIV transmission during childbirth is another critical component.
  • Appropriate Breastfeeding Methods: Supporting and promoting appropriate breastfeeding methods that reduce the risk of HIV transmission post-birth is essential. This involves educating mothers about safer breastfeeding options and the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding in combination with ART.

NACA's approach is holistic, addressing not just the medical needs but also the education and support required to protect the health of both mothers and their children.

Importance of Community Involvement

Ilori stressed that beyond the healthcare facilities, the involvement of communities is vital. Grassroots organizations, community leaders, and volunteers play a significant role in raising awareness, providing support, and encouraging pregnant women to seek necessary medical help. This community-based approach helps to create a supportive environment where mothers and children can thrive.

By fostering a sense of collective responsibility and encouraging community involvement, NACA aims to build a robust network of support that extends beyond the clinical setting. This network is essential in reaching those who may be hesitant or unable to access traditional healthcare services.

Ongoing Challenges and Future Goals

Ongoing Challenges and Future Goals

While substantial progress has been made, challenges remain. Issues such as stigma, lack of access to healthcare facilities in rural areas, and the need for continuous funding and resources are significant hurdles that need to be overcome. Addressing these challenges requires sustained effort and commitment from all stakeholders involved.

Moving forward, NACA is working towards enhancing its outreach programs, increasing funding, and strengthening partnerships with both national and international organizations. These efforts are aimed at ensuring that every pregnant woman in Nigeria, regardless of her geographic location or socioeconomic status, has access to the care and support necessary to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission.


The reaffirmation of NACA’s commitment on Children’s Day serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing battle against HIV in Nigeria. It highlights the importance of continued effort, innovation, and collaboration in the fight to protect future generations from the burden of HIV. By steadfastly pursuing the goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission, NACA is striving to ensure a healthier and brighter future for all Nigerian children.