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Elimination of Mother to Child Transmission (EMTCT) of HIV campaign in Ibanda District has gained boost with the training and equipping of men to create awareness.

Fifty eight people dubbed ‘male champions’ were on Thursday commissioned and each given a bicycle to move in the communities creating awareness on the need for men to be more involved in the Maternal Neonatal and Child Health (MNCH).

The men were trained for two weeks. Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric Aids Foundation in partnership with UNICEF is implementing EMTCT.

“In our campaign, we have found out that some pregnant mothers still don’t come for antenatal visits, this is because their husbands don’t support them,” said Dr Julius Bamwine, the Ibanda District Health Officer.

He added: “We strategised to use men we have called Male Champions in mobilising their colleagues, it would be difficult for a woman for example to go in bars to convince men but it would be easier if a fellow man did it.” he said.

Dr Bamwine who said HIV prevalence rate in the district remains very high at eight per cent also noted the male involvement in the HIV prevention, treatment and care remains low.Mr Steven Ntunde, one of the Male Champions, said men are always very slow in response to health related issues.

“Most men seek treatment and care at the dying hours or in critical condition so convincing such a person to escort his wife for antenatal care is difficult. They pretend to be busy and forget their health and their families but with the strategies we have got in this training, we are sure we will be able to change this mentality,” said Mr Ntunde.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor