Linkages between PMTCT, ART and wellness services: an assessment of uptake of ART and wellness services by women attending PMTCT at selected ANC clinics in Soweto

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dc.contributor.author Ching'andu, Annette Mulenga
dc.date.accessioned 2011-02-18T08:01:44Z
dc.date.available 2011-02-18T08:01:44Z
dc.date.issued 2011-02-18
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/9050
dc.description MPH, Maternal and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand en_US
dc.description.abstract Due to the high prevalence of HIV in South Africa, all pregnant women are offered an HIV test as part of the package of services offered during ante natal care (ANC). All women who present to an ANC clinic for the first time for that given pregnancy are given group talks about HIV and the availability of services to protect their children from HIV through Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) services. Following these group discussions, all the women are then counselled on a one on one basis and are offered an HIV test. Women who decide not to take the test can opt out of testing at this stage, those who do go ahead and test are also offered post test counselling after which their test result is given to them. All HIV tests are conducted using rapid HIV test kits which make results known within 15 minutes, the results are given to the women on the same day of testing. Women whose CD4 count is below the antiretroviral treatment(ART) initiation threshold† are fast tracked onto ART , those whose CD4 is above the threshold should then be referred to other services which can help them maintain their health.1 These services are part of the Comprehensive Care, Management and Treatment (CCMT) approach. They include: CD4 count monitoring; treatment for opportunist infections; social workers, and support groups for psychosocial support.2 For purposes of this study, these services are collectively referred to as Wellness services. Thus PMTCT should serve as a gateway to either ART or Wellness services. This study therefore sought to describe the linkages between PMTCT, ART and Wellness by reviewing service utilisation levels and referral systems at sampled health facilities in Soweto. Data for this study were collected via a cross sectional record review of PMTCT registers and an ART initiation register at sampled health facilities. PMTCT registers were reviewed for the period January to March 2008 to determine what service had been given to pregnant women who accessed PMTCT services for the first time during that period † In his speech on World AIDS Day (December 1st 2009) President Jacob Zuma announced that CD4 count threshold for treatment initiation will be raised from 200 to 350 as of April 2010. 0707048E 2 and which follow on services they had been referred to. ART registers were reviewed for the period January to August 2008 to determine which of the pregnant women who had been referred to ART from the PMTCT service points at the sampled clinics accessed the service. Key informant interviews were also conducted with staff at PMTCT, ANC, ART and voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) service points at the sampled facilities. Descriptive statistics were run using SPSS version 17.0, comparisons were done using OpenEpi and key informant interview data were thematically analysed using Atlas TI version 5.2.0. Records at the PMTCT clinics showed that of the 1350 women who attended ANC clinics at the sampled facilities between January and March 2008, all but one agreed to test for HIV. Twenty-nice percent (388) tested positive for HIV. Of these 388 HIV positive women, 20% (77 women) had CD4 counts below 200 and were therefore eligible for initiation of ART. Review of records at the ART clinic showed that only 23% (n = 18, N = 77) of all ART eligible women had accessed the service. Review of the PMTCT register also showed that a significant proportion, 37% (n = 144, N =388), of women who tested HIV positive did not return to the clinics for their CD4 count results. These women therefore missed opportunities to access other follow on services to which they could have been referred and possibly ART as 31% (24 women) of these women were also eligible for ART. Review of records at Wellness services was not possible as no indications were made in the PMTCT registers of follow on services other than ART to which HIV positive women were referred. Thus the greater majority of women who were eligible for ART (77% of the 77 eligible women) did not access ART which they required to help them maintain their physical wellbeing. These women missed the opportunity to access holistic health care services, it is not known if they accessed ART services at other health facilities. Without the required antiretroviral therapy, it is highly likely that their women’s health status deteriorated such that they faced higher chances of morbidity and ultimately mortality. 0707048E 3 The review of records at both PMTCT and ART service points showed poor data management systems as referrals from PMTCT to ART were not always documented against client names in the PMTCT registers. Communication systems between the service points were also found to be poorly structured as there were no systematic feedback mechanisms on clients referred and seen. Linkages to Wellness services were even more poorly structured as no referrals to services which fall under Wellness were documented in the PMTCT registers. Key informants interviewed suggested several possible reasons why PMTCT and ART services were not being fully utilised as was evidenced by the of 37% of women who were not retained in care as they did not return for CD4 results and the low ART utilisation rate of 23%. Possible reasons suggestions were: ignorance of the need to access ANC services, preference for traditional medicine, fear of stigmatisation within their communities and poor staff attitudes towards patients. The key informants also suggested measures they thought could improve utilisation, these include hire of more staff, improved staff wages, improved interdepartmental communication and a bottom up approach to service improvement. A suggestion was also made to include PMTCT messaging in general HIV/AIDS information education communication material so as to raise awareness of the availability of PMTCT interventions. Although there were linkages between PMTCT, ART and Wellness services, these linkages were poorly developed and drop out from services was high. Efforts to follow up on patients or to retain them in care were not well developed as the data management systems employed by the service points were not consistently used nor did they facilitate patient monitoring and follow-up. Furthermore, the structural and managerial separation of the ART service point from PMTCT as well as the lack of standard protocols for referral to Wellness introduced barriers to service utilisation for women who required these services. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject anti-retroviral therapy en_US
dc.subject women's health services en_US
dc.subject pregnant women en_US
dc.title Linkages between PMTCT, ART and wellness services: an assessment of uptake of ART and wellness services by women attending PMTCT at selected ANC clinics in Soweto en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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    Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of the Witwatersrand, 1972.

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