Effectiveness of interventions to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Southern Ethiopia
Behailu Merdekios1, Adebola A Adedimeji2
1College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Arba Minch University, Ethiopia; 2Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus, New York, USA
Background: In Ethiopia, Progress in Reducing Mother-to-Child-Transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is being curtailed by behavioral and cultural factors that continue to put unborn children at risk, and mother-to-child transmission is responsible for more than 90% of HIV infection in children. The objective of this study was to assess PMTCT services by examining knowledge about reducing vertical transmission among pregnant women.
Methods: A multistaged sampling institution-based survey was conducted in 113 pregnant women in Arba Minch. Qualitative and quantitative data were obtained.
Results: Of the 113 respondents, 89.4% were from Arba Minch, 43.4% were at least 25 years of age, 73.4% had formal education at primary level or above, 100% reported acceptance of voluntary counseling and testing, 92.0% were knowledgeable about mother-to-child transmission, and 90.3% were aware of the availability of the PMTCT service in the health facility. Of 74 HIV-positive women in PMTCT, only three (4.1%) had had skilled birth attendants at delivery. There was an unacceptable degree of loss of women from PMTCT. Maternal educational level had a statistical association with income (P < 0.001) and voluntary counseling and testing for pregnant women (P < 0.05). Factors that determined use of PMTCT included culture, socioeconomic status, and fear of stigma and discrimination.
Conclusion: In the area studied, intervention to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV is failing to reach its goal. This is an alarming discovery requiring quick reconsideration and strengthening of preventive strategies at all levels.
Keywords: human immunodeficiency virus, mother-to-child transmission, pregnant women, Ethiopia
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