Issues in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV: a liberal humanist reading of Song of a Goat
This article examines the issues in preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV in rural communities in Nigeria. It assesses the cultural practices that propel mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) vis-à -vis their implications on development. It uses J.P Clark’s play, Song of a Goat as a premise to argue that the dramatic characters in the play as well as traditional symbols and idiolects embody diverse tropes which touch on the components of PMTCT such as stigmatisation, gender inequality and discrimination of persons living with HIV. It further contends that the in/action of the dramatic characters in the play’s plot as well as some aspects of the thematic thrusts convey diverse perspectives which community workers should consider in designing, with participation of beneficiary communities, communication strategies for effective public health awareness campaign and PMTCT intervention programmes. The paper uses liberal humanism as a theoretical bastion to maintain that cultural practices are catalysts that are capable of increasing or reducing PMTCT across rural communities in Nigeria. It concludes that intervention workers should as well look in the direction of play-texts to understand the cultural dynamics at play in apprehending the extant realities in communities and working with the people to reflect on their contexts with a view to forging ways that can instigate behavioural change.
Keywords: PMTCT, Liberal humanism, Dramatic characters, HIV, Impotence, Infidelity