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Implementation of co-trimoxazole preventive therapy policy for malaria in HIV-infected pregnant women in the public health facilities in Tanzania

Authors Kamuhabwa AAR, Gordian R, Mutagonda RF

Received 5 August 2016

Accepted for publication 28 October 2016

Published 13 December 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 91—100


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Rajender R Aparasu

Appolinary AR Kamuhabwa, Richard Gordian, Ritah F Mutagonda

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Background: In 2011, Tanzania adopted a policy for provision of daily co-trimoxazole prophylaxis to HIV-infected pregnant women for prevention of malaria and other opportunistic infections. As per the policy, HIV-infected pregnant women should not be given sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) for intermittent preventive therapy. The challenges associated with this policy change and the extent to which the new policy for prevention of malaria in pregnant women coinfected with HIV was implemented need to be assessed.
Aim: To assess the implementation of malaria-preventive therapy policy among HIV-infected pregnant women in the public health facilities in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Methodology: The study was conducted in Kinondoni Municipality, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, from January 2015 to July 2015. Three hundred and fifty-three HIV-infected pregnant women who were attending antenatal clinics (ANCs) and using co-trimoxazole for prevention of malaria were interviewed. Twenty-six health care workers working at the ANCs were also interviewed regarding provision of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis to pregnant women. A knowledge scale was used to grade the level of knowledge of health care providers. Focus group discussions were also conducted with 18 health care workers to assess the level of implementation of the policy and the challenges encountered.
Results: Twenty-three (6.5%) pregnant women with known HIV serostatus were using co-trimoxazole for prevention of opportunistic infections even before they became pregnant. Out of the 353 HIV-infected pregnant women, eight (2.5%) were coadministered with both SP and co-trimoxazole. Sixty (16.7%) pregnant women had poor adherence to co-trimoxazole prophylaxis. Out of the 26 interviewed health care providers, 20 had high level of knowledge regarding malaria-preventive therapy in HIV-infected pregnant women. Lack of adequate supply of co-trimoxazole in health facilities and inadequate training of health care providers were among the factors causing poor implementation of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis for prevention of malaria in HIV-infected pregnant women.
Conclusion: There is a need to continue sensitization of pregnant women and communities about the importance of early attendance to the ANCs for testing of HIV and provision of co-trimoxazole prophylaxis. Availability of co-trimoxazole in the health facilities, regular training, and sensitization of health care providers are necessary for effective implementation of this policy.

SP, policy change, ANCs, health care providers, IPTp

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