Pastor Joseph Muhembeli and his wife, Beatrice, queue at the Vihiga health centre with their six-month-old daughter for their prevention of mother-to-child treatment (PMTCT). But before long, as per the clinic’s policy, the couple are whisked to the front of the line – all because Muhembeli has accompanied his wife for the treatment.
The couple tested HIV-positive four years ago. But thanks to the Muhembeli’s involvement with the PMTCT programme, their six-month-old daughter has tested HIV-negative.
“For two years now, we have been encouraging male participation in the prevention of mother-to-child treatment of HIV. And that is why we give special treatment to all men who accompany their wives to either pre- or postnatal clinics,” said Martha Opisa, the nurse in charge at the health centre.
Opisa said the Vihiga health centre used to receive about 40 clients a month seeking PMTCT services before men got actively involved in the pre- and postnatal clinics. “But now we now receive between 60 and 70 clients per month, almost doubling the original figure,” she said.