EXCLUSIVE breast feeding is a health issue and is an effective way set a newborn free from HIV infection even if both parents are positive.
Processed milk and any other kind of food are only an alternative, especially when a mother lacks time for exclusive breast feeding. An infected mother therefore, should choose one. If it is exclusive breast feeding, she must practice it for six months consecutively.
And if it is other foods, the newborn should immediately and completely stop sucking her mother’ milk. “Other foods can cause bruises in the baby’s food system,’’ said Dr Hafidh Ameir of the Tanzania Commission of Aids (TACAIDS).
Dr Ameir was conducting HIV/AIDS-related seminar to public servants at the State Mining Corporation (STAMICO) in Dar es Salaam recently. An infant normally drinks about 45 to 90 milliliters every 2 to 3 hours. The amount increases as the baby grows. He insisted that mother’s milk is the best; advising mothers who have no time for exclusive breast feeding to apply Breast Pumping System, saying the baby should suck the mother’s milk at-least twelve times a day.
“An HIV infected mother’ milk is always safe despite her condition. They never cause bruises if they only use baby’s food. Manmade foods are allowed after six months when the baby’s mouth and food system are matured enough and not prone to bruises,” he said.
Dr Ameir educated further that, HIV/AIDS infected parents’ sperms are also safe and that is why an infant comes out safely unless she/he faces bruises during delivery. In additional efforts to put the new born on safest side with regard that she/ he might be facing bruises during delivery process; trained health service providers do immediately offer what is called Niverapine Drops as immune against HIV infection to the newborn.
The drops should be offered within the first 72 hours. Proper use of Anti-retroviral (ARVs) by infected partners is also among of the best methods to protect the infant against HIV transmission. ARVs do weaken HIV viruses, meaning that no transmission at all.
He once again explained that even if both partners are HIV positive, no new HIV transmission among couples or from parent to child, when perfect drugs (ARVs) use is considered. He went beyond parents to child HIV transmission by saying that, effective drugs use is also to hold discordant couples’ relationship, adding that discordant happens when one partner falls HIV/AIDS victim while the other not.
Basing on his experience in the HIV/AIDS field, Dr Ameir told participants that in most cases, it is men who have been running away after their partners are found affected. “No reason to run away and abandon your family because no room for any new transmission in presence of proper ARVs uses.
In totality, we do insist on HIV test, immediate use of the drugs for victims even if the CD4s still count perfect,” he said, adding that: TACAIDS also insists on proper condom use and storage to both HIV positive and negative, for the same intention of preventing new transmissions.
Again, even if both partners are HIV/AIDS victims, condom uses are of importance since every patient has his/ her own type of the viruses. Every victim should stay with her/his type. Intermingling of the virus is translated as new transmission which weakens the patients.
At the same time, Dr Ameir urged the government to subsidize female condoms as it does for male ones; revealing that female condom does not stay longer after it has been opened. He clarified that female condom user can let it remain in place for not less than four hours.
It is in such way female condoms can fight against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) whenever a woman faces sexual assault. How to use it (female condom) is normally TACAIDS’s part of public education programmes, he said.
One of STAMICO’s staff, Juma Juma commended the government’s creativity for spreading HIV/AIDS education at work places; saying people always have something new to learn in every training session. He added that something new comes in given that HIV/AIDS fighters have been come up with new research results over the disease, important (results) for the public to know.
On his side, safety of sperms and breast milk of the HIV/AIDS infected couples were among new things he learnt from the training; calling each participant to tell the public what one gained from the seminar.
“I also come across that keeping condoms in my pockets or vehicle makes them dry as they are exposed to high temperature. Again, practicing HIV tests immediately after an accident of the condom bust is also an important lesson to us trainee” he said.
STAMICO Acting Director, Mr Aloyce Tesha urged the public in general to consider frequent health check-ups in the name of maintaining healthy national work force everywhere. He added that mining sector is in high need of healthy human resource following nature of the tasks in mineral search exercise.
Apart from HIV/AIDs related seminars at working place as per the government’s policy, he added, STAMICO has been going far ahead in educating its staff on all non-communicable disease.
“The public know how the nation loses manpower through Low and High blood pressure, Kidney and Heart complications, Diabetes and Cancer diseases, to mention but a few. Let these seminars remind us on regular health tests, taking precaution as well as having timely treatments,” he urged training beneficiaries.