You would have been easily passed for a lunatic if you tried to convince a friend to go for a beauty contest for pregnant women that took place in Arua Town.
This is because the mention of it alone sounds like a taboo in a community that treats expectant mothers with respect and imagining them in conventional cat walks for beauty contests is unheard of. But this is what Baylor Uganda, an NGO, and regional health authorities have been using to raise awareness about the elimination of transmission of mother-to-child transmission of HIVAids.
The two-week event reached a climax on Sunday with the eight champion mothers representing each district of West Nile in a final which was won by Koboko’s Ms Eve Anguse, from Gborokolongo Health Centre. “I will be a role model in my community. I will tell the women about the aantages of attending antenatal services so that they produce children free of HIVAids,” Ms Anguse said.
The contestants were asked questions from antenatal to post antenatal care and the importance of a mother being escorted to a health facility by her husband.
Ms Kemistu Masturah, the communication officer for Baylor Uganda, said: “We took this approach because we have a young population. This contest would appeal to them and I believe those who came here have gone with a message of how to eliminate transmission from mother to child.”
The Arua deputy health officer, Dr Pontius Apangu, appealed to residents to fight HIVAids using all avenues. “We shall work together to ensure that those who are positive get treatment and care and the negative ones remain free. With HIVAids now there is no shame, if you are positive, go to health facilities and you will be assisted,” Dr Apangu said.
The regional transmission rates for HIV positive babies stood at 5.3 per cent by the end of April.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor