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Challenges facing effective implementation of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis in children born to HIV-infected mothers in the public health facilities

Authors Kamuhabwa A, Manyanga V

Received 23 May 2015

Accepted for publication 24 July 2015

Published 29 October 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 147—156


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Shu-Feng Zhou

Appolinary AR Kamuhabwa,1 Vicky Manyanga2

1Unit of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 2Department of Medicinal Chemistry, School of Pharmacy, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Background: If children born to HIV-infected mothers are not identified early, approximately 30% of them will die within the first year of life due to opportunistic infections. In order to prevent morbidity and mortality due to opportunistic infections in children, the World Health Organization recommends the use of prophylaxis using co-trimoxazole. However, the challenges affecting effective implementation of this policy in Tanzania have not been documented.
Aim: In this study, we assessed the challenges facing the provision of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis among children born to HIV-infected mothers in the public hospitals of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Methodology: Four hundred and ninety-eight infants' PMTCT (Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV) register books for the past 2 years were reviewed to obtain information regarding the provision of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis. One hundred and twenty-six health care workers were interviewed to identify success stories and challenges in the provision of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis in children. In addition, 321 parents and guardians of children born to HIV-infected mothers were interviewed in the health facilities.
Results: Approximately 80% of children were initiated with co-trimoxazole prophylaxis within 2 months after birth. Two hundred and ninety-one (58.4%) children started using co-trimoxazole within 4 weeks after birth. Majority (n=458, 91.8%) of the children were prescribed 120 mg of co-trimoxazole per day, whereas 39 (7.8%) received 240 mg per day. Only a small proportion (n=1, 0.2%) of children received 480 mg/day. Dose determination was based on the child's age rather than body weight. Parents and guardians reported that 42 (13.1%) children had missed one or more doses of co-trimoxazole during the course of prophylaxis. The majority of health care workers (89.7%) reported that co-trimoxazole is very effective for the prevention of opportunistic infections among children, but frequent shortage of co-trimoxazole in the health facilities was the main challenge.
Conclusion: Most children who were initiated with co-trimoxazole prophylaxis did not experience significant opportunistic infections, and the drug was well tolerated. The major barrier for co-trimoxazole prophylaxis was due to frequent out-of-stocks of pediatric co-trimoxazole formulations in the health facilities. Dose determination was based on the age rather than the weight of children, thus creating potential for under- or over-dosing of children.

Keywords: health facilities, opportunistic infections, CD4, parents, guardians

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