An international Non- Governmental Organisation, Pact and Chevron Nigeria limited yesterday said through its joint efforts, it has succeeded in reducing the HIV prevalence in Bayelsa State from 9.1% to 3.8% for the past four years.
This was revealed in Yenagoa during an official closing ceremony of a project entitled Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV (PROMOT) embarked by Pact and Chevron since September, 2012.
Acting Country Director of Pact Nigeria, Dr Amina Ahmed-Shehu, said Pact, with funding from Chevron, embarked on a 42-month PROMOT Project in Nigeria with the aim of reducing the transmission of mother to child infection of HIV/AIDS.
She said PROMOT worked with 8 Community-based organisations in Bayelsa to increase HIV awareness, mentoring and support for HIV positive pregnant women on how to deliver HIV- free children.
According to her, the project has contributed to the growth in the number of Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission, PMTCT, service centres from 6 in 2012 to 134 in 2016 in the state.
Other achievements of the project, she said, included the training of 22 HIV positive pregnant women to serve as role models in their communities as they encouraged their peers to get tested and receive treatment when necessary.
Also, she revealed that 294,000 people were reached with HIV messages while over 50,000 pregnant women were tested for HIV and received their results, adding that over 300 HIV- exposed infants were tested for HIV at 6 weeks, while almost 700 pregnant women were on antiretroviral prophylaxis.
She identified climatic/geographic conditions and rising cost of transportation as some challenges that posed critical barriers for pregnant women to access PMTCT services in Bayelsa State.
Noting that project partners were able to adjust programme strategies to reach the target population, Dr. Ahmed-Shehu commended the Bayelsa State Government for her support for the project.
Similarly, the General Manager of Chevron on Policy, Government and Public Affairs Department, Mr Deji Heastrup, said Chevron, the operators of the NNPC- Shell Joint Venture, was proud to have partnered with Pact and the Bayelsa State government on the PROMOT Project as part of its crucial social services to the citizenry with the aim of unlocking human potentials.
Represented by the coordinator, Corporate Responsibility and National Programme, Mr Sunday Okegbemiro, he said Chevron provided a monthly support to the Bayelsa State government through the department of Planning, Research and Statistics, to ensure accurate data collection during the 4-year period of the programme.
“Working with global and local partners, Chevron will continue to dedicate resources and effort to support initiatives that build local capabilities and deliver real lasting gains in the fight against devastating diseases such as HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria” he added.
Speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr. Kojo Omietimi lauded Pact and Chevron for the PROMOT initiatives.
The Permanent Secretary, who was represented by the Director of Public Health, said with the intervention of the partners, HIV prevalence has reduced from 9.1 in 2012 to 3.8 in 2016.
A beneficiary of the programme and HIV positive pregnant woman (name withheld) who spoke at the event commended the organisers of the programme, stating that with the help of PROMOT, HIV- positive women have become aware that they can give birth to HIV negative babies.

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