He said the 2015 HIV and AIDS Annual Review Report indicated that 76,734 pregnant women attended Antenatal Clinic in the region out of which 61,447, representing 80 per cent, took the HIV test with 585, representing 0.95 per cent, testing positive.
Mr Ricketts-Hagan said this at a free health screening outreach jointly organised by the Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV and AIDS, (OAFLA Ghana Chapter) and Ghana Aids Commission led by Mrs Lordina Mahama, the First Lady, at Winneba.
“I am worried about the remaining 15,287 (20 per cent) pregnant women who did not avail themselves for the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV programme.
“There is the possibility that more HIV positive cases could be among the 15,287 who did not avail themselves for the PMTCT services during the period,” he said.
The Minister noted that with regard to the report, it would lead to innocent children being born with HIV and this is unacceptable.
He said the 2015 National HIV and AIDS Control Programme Sentinel Survey Report on pregnant women also revealed a consistent rise in HIV prevalence percentage recorded at three sentinel sites in the region, namely; Cape Coast, Assin Fosu and Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa (AOB).
As per the report, Cape Coast leads with 1.6 per cent in 2013, 2.0 per cent in 2014 and 2.6 in 2015. Assin Fosu recorded 1.0 per cent in 2013, 1.6 in 2014 and 2.2 in 2015 followed by AOB with 0.6 per cent in 2013, 0.8 in 2014 and 0.8 in 2015.
“In a nutshell, with the high HIV prevalence among women visiting antenatal clinics in the region, there is the possibility of high vertical transmission from mothers to the unborn babies if the positive women are not utilising prevention of mother-to-child transmission services which are provided free of charge,” he said.
“This poses a serious threat to our efforts to towards an HIV free society,” he added.
Mr Ricketts-Hagan thanked the First Lady for her campaign on PMTCT, saying he and the people of the Central Region would continue to join hands with her to fight the pandemic.
He urged women to take advantage of the various health services that have been brought to their doorsteps to attend antenatal clinics, check their HIV status and be screened for cervical cancer.
Source: GNA/News Ghana