Completed Research Prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV: Needs assessment study among obstetric health care providers from Pune city (2006)

Prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV: Needs assessment study among obstetric health care providers from Pune city (2006)

PRAYAS has been implementing a program for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV since September 2002, mainly in private sector. It was our experience that most obstetric health care providers were unwilling to provide care to HIV positive women. In order to scale up the program, we wanted to understand their current knowledge about PMTCT and their needs with regard to implementing PMTCT program.

A comprehensive list of maternity hospitals and obstetric health care facilities was prepared and then 100 hospitals were randomly selected. A group of researchers collected data through a structured questionnaire. Out of 100 hospitals the data were collected from 70 hospitals.

It was not surprising to find out that most of the obstetric health care facilities routinely tested all pregnant women for HIV (most of the time without proper counseling). However this was not for preventing mother to child transmission if she was detected positive but to exclude the HIV positive women from care. At one end more than 85% of the health care providers felt that HIV was not a problem among the women who accessed care from their hospitals; however this did not restrict them from practising mandatory testing of all pregnant women (73%). It was interesting to know that only 40% of the health care providers knew the exact possibility of mother to child transmission. Though most of them knew that mother to child transmission could be prevented, less than 20% knew about prophylactic medicines and less than 5% had actually used them.

The study highlighted that -

  • There was prevalent practice of mandatory screening for HIV in pregnancy.
  • This testing was not for providing PMTCT services but to exclude the HIV positive woman from care.
  • There was substantial lack of knowledge about PMTCT among health care providers, about the possibility of MTCT, modes of transmission and the ways to prevent mother to child transmission.
  • There was an urgent need to increase awareness about PMTCT among health care providers.
 

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