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Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Sep;15(9):992-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02576.x. Epub 2010 Jun 17.

Prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programme in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa: an evaluation of PMTCT implementation and integration into routine maternal, child and women's health services.

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Centre for Rural Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.



To evaluate prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) implementation and integration of PMTCT with routine maternal and child health services in two districts of KwaZulu-Natal; to report PMTCT coverage, to compare recorded and reported information, and to describe responsibilities of nurses and lay counsellors.


Interviews were conducted with mothers in post-natal wards (PNW) and immunisation clinics; antenatal and child health records were reviewed. Interviews were conducted with nurses and lay counsellors in primary health care clinics.


Eight hundred and eighty-two interviews were conducted with mothers: 398 in PNWs and 484 immunisation clinics. During their recent pregnancy, 98.6% women attended antenatal care (ANC); 60.8% attended their first ANC in the third trimester, and 97.3% were tested for HIV. Of 312 mothers reporting themselves HIV positive during ANC, 91.3% received nevirapine, 78.2% had a CD4 count carried out, and 33.1% had a CD4 result recorded. In the immunisation clinic, 47.6% HIV-exposed babies had a PCR test, and 47.0% received co-trimoxazole. Of HIV-positive mothers, 42.1% received follow-up care, mainly from lay counsellors. In 12/26 clinics, there was a dedicated PMTCT nurse, PCR testing was not offered in 14/26 clinics, and co-trimoxazole was unavailable in 13/26 immunisation clinics. Nurses and lay counsellors disagreed about their roles and responsibilities, particularly in the post-natal period.


There is high coverage of PMTCT interventions during pregnancy and delivery, but follow-up of mothers and infants is poor. Poor integration of PMTCT services into routine care, lack of clarity about health worker roles and poor record keeping create barriers to accessing services post-delivery.

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