The Provincial Health Office (PHO) said it will be focusing on the conduct of free HIV tests on couples in order to monitor the exposure of high-risk pregnant women to the disease.
Jenevil Tombaga, maternal health care manager of the PHO, said their campaign is expected to establish a baseline indicator of the extent of HIV infection among pregrant women.
“Sa atin sa Palawan ay possible na may infected or positive tayo sa mga buntis, hindi natin alam. So isa ‘yan sa mga target namin ‘yong mga pregnant women,” she said.
Tombaga explained that “couple approach” will be utilized to conduct the HIV testing, which they think would be more effective than holding the annual Buntis Congress that only women can attend.
“Dati kasi Buntis Congress lang ang aming approach, kaya nakita namin na mas maganda kung involve ang lalaki kasi siya ang decision-maker. Ngayon ay ini-enhance namin na ‘yong i-educate ay ‘yong mga kalalakihan kasama ang bakuna, STI (Ssexually transmitted infections) at HIV. Dati babae lang, at minsan kasi ayaw ng lalaki ang regular na pre-natal,” Tombaga said.
Their first Couple Congress, she said, will be held in the town of Narra, to be followed by the municipality of Sofronio Española.