By Charles Kakamwa
MOTHER-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS is the second highest means of spread of the scourge in Uganda, after sexual intercourse, researchers have said.
Dr. Enid Mbabazi of the Makerere University Institute of Public Health said studies also indicated that diseases like malaria and syphilis during pregnancy increased the risk of HIV transmission to the unborn child.
â€œThat is why pregnant mothers with HIV should test for malaria and syphilis and get treatment to reduce the risk of infection of the child,â€ she said, adding thatÂ at least 20,000 babies are born with HIV each year.
Mbabazi was speaking at the launch of the Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission of HIV/AIDS (PMTCT) programme in Busedde sub-county, Jinja district on Wednesday.
The function, organised by the district directorate of health in conjunction with Makerere University and the Centre for Disease Control, was presided over by the secretary for health, Rose Kakaire.
Mbabazi said beating pregnant women also posed a great health risk.
Sarah Byakika, the deputy district director of health services, said the PMTCT programme, which was introduced at Jinja Hospital in 2002, was now operational in 17 health centres in the district.