A SILVER LINING FOR BABY GIDEON
A Story of Hope and Commitment
AN AKWA IBOM STATE EPIC ACTIVITY 2 SUCCESS STORY
Faraway in Oruk Anam, a Vast Hinterland LGA in Eket Cluster the Story of baby Gideon, a severely malnourished 2 months old infant of an unhooked primed who received an Early infant diagnosis EID Investigation upon presenting with markedly Low Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) at Ikot Okoro General Hospital is told.
AHNi’s technical team in the facility, upon receiving the test results within 72 hours and identifying the client’s serostatus, mobilized along with the Orphan and Vulnerable Children (OVC) partners – CCRN to track and bring back baby Gideon to the facility for appropriate care.
The infant was noted to have a weak suckling reflex upon admission hence various feeding Interventions were deployed after a proper nutritional assessment and remediation plan were done. Progress was strictly monitored using a multi-disciplinary team approach comprising of the facility Operation Triple Zero (OTZ) Point of Care (POC), the facility CSO POC, facility CCRN Linkage facilitator, the facility ART coordinator, facility, and community clinicians and the LGA HIV Specialist.
The global mortality rate of newborns and infants generally declined by more than 50% and in absolute numbers, from 5 million in 1990 to 2.4 million in 2019 however, infants like baby Gideon still face the greatest risk in their first 28 days of life. (In 2019, newborns accounted for 47% of all <5 deaths with 1/3 -3/4 dying within the first week of life – WHO-neonates diary2020)
The treatment of infant malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa is a public health concern, of utmost priority and represents a challenge in areas with high HIV/ AIDS prevalence like ours Nigeria. Sero-Concordant Children born to HIV-positive women are particularly susceptible to malnutrition. (Growth, failure and wasting are frequently found in this sub-population, especially in areas where high prevalence of HIV/AIDS co-exists with high rates of food insecurity and poverty.)
Our team strategies were centered on improving accessibility of EID and infant feeding options as a holistic approach to health care services in community and facility-based structures to ensure that no opportunity is lost for this priority sub-population by early case identification, monitoring interruption in care as quickly as possible and this paid off with Baby Gideon receiving optimal ARV and Nutritional care thus improving his health and vigor.
Our goal is to achieve zero new transmission from all infected mothers to their children, to ensure a HIV and malnourished free generation by mitigating gaps/breaks in the PMTCT continuum of care and innovatively enabling an environment for children to live healthy.