- Published on Tuesday, 24 July 2012 01:59
- Written by MARC NKWAME in Arusha
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LONGIDO district leads in HIV/AIDS prevalence among pregnant women in Arusha region. The in-charge at Regional Mount Meru Hospital, Dr Omar Chande, revealed that Longido and Karatu were leading districts when it comes to HIV infection among pregnant mothers in Arusha region.
"The prevalence rate for Longido District currently stands at 14.0 per cent, followed by Karatu at 4.7 per cent, while the Arusha Urban (City)'s prevalence rate is 4.0 per cent," said Dr Chande, adding that the situation was becoming a serious threat.
Longido is a small hamlet located 20 kilometres south of Namanga border. It is primarily a Maasai settlement but of late there have been integration of people because the area is mapped along a highway linking Arusha (Tanzania) and Nairobi (Kenya).
In 2007, Longido became the capital of Longido district which was formed after the area was split from Monduli district. Research needs to be conducted to determine why pregnant women in the area are more susceptible to HIV infections.
"We are, however, doing all we can to ensure that children are born safe," assured the regional hospital's head physician. Dr Chande also explained that in 2011 more than 928 children born at the regional hospital were found to be infected with HIV.
"Around 82 per cent of them were breast-fed but some other 18 per cent used alternative methods of feeding in order to survive." During the same period, nearly 50,000 women attended clinic in health facilities throughout Arusha region and about 1,677 were found to be infected with HIV/AIDS.
He said that they managed to determine the number of infected women after conducting special tests during pregnancy in order to prevent the possibilities of transmission from mother to child.
"Today we can say that for those women who have been tested, about 3 per cent were detected to be infected and in order to save the lives of mother and child, what we have done is to teach them prevention methods and nurturing of children," said Dr Chande.