Articles

Implementation of the national programme for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV: a rapid assessment in Cacadu district, South Africa


Abstract

To conduct a rapid assessment of the prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission-of-HIV (PMTCT) programme in two of the three local service areas in Cacadu district, Eastern Cape province, South Africa, we designed an exploratory study using a mixed-methods approach. Quantitative and qualitative data on PMTCT programme implementation were collected in 2008 through a structured assessment at the 44 health facilities implementing the programme in the province. This included in-depth interviews with 11 clinic supervisors, 31 clinic programme coordinators, and 8 hospital/maternity staff members in order to examine their perceived problems and suggestions regarding PMTCT programme implementation; an assessment of the clinic registers and recording systems; a meeting with stakeholders; and one feedback meeting with clinic managers, sub-district management and other stakeholders in regard to the results of the rapid assessment. Overall, most of the national criteria for PMTCT programme implementation were fulfilled across the health facilities. However, shortcomings were found relating to health policy, health services delivery and clients’ health-seeking behaviour. The findings show the need for a well-functioning health system with adequate and trained staff, a reduced staff workload, proper case recording, an improved patient follow-up system, better support for staff, the empowerment of PMTCT clients, strong leadership, and coordination and collaboration between partners.

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