Fatma Mrisho, executive director of the Tanzania Commission for AIDS, on Friday called on pregnant women living with HIV/AIDS in the country to regularly visit medical clinics in order to prevent mother-to-child transmission of the virus, the Daily News reports. Mrisho delivered the message in Tanzania's capital of Dar es Salaam during a briefing on the Children's Special Session International Conference, which will be held on Monday in the city. The conference, organized by the Regional Inter-Agency Task Team on Children and AIDS in Eastern and Southern Africa, will review progress and steps needed to increase the response to HIV/AIDS among children. More than 14 countries from across East and Southern Africa are expected to be represented at the conference.
Mrisho said that by regularly attending clinics, women also would be able to access antiretroviral treatment for their children, which could help reduce Tanzania's child mortality rate. Mrisho noted that a survey by the country's health sector found that 11,000 children are living with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania. "To some extent, the big rate is caused by expectant mothers for failing to attend the medical clinic regularly for check-ups," Mrisho said. She added that stigmatization of pregnant women living with HIV/AIDS needs to be addressed because it prevents many women from attending clinics (Robi, Daily News, 9/27).
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