n Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine - How ready are our health systems to implement prevention of mother to child transmission Option B+? : forum
|Article Title||How ready are our health systems to implement prevention of mother to child transmission Option B+? : forum|
|Journal||Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine|
|Affiliations||1 Health Systems Research Unit, 2 Health Systems Research Unit, 3 Health Systems Research Unit, 4 Health Systems Research Unit, 5 Health Systems Research Unit, 6 Health Systems Research Unit, 7 Health Systems Research Unit, 8 Health Systems Research Unit, 9 Health Systems Research Unit, 10 University of the Witwatersrand, 11 University of the Witwatersrand and 12 University of Pretoria|
|Publication Date||Apr 2015|
|Pages||1 - 5|
In January 2015, the South African National Department of Health released new consolidated guidelines for the prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV, in line with the World Health Organization's (WHO) PMTCT Option B+. Implementing these guidelines should make it possible to eliminate mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV and improve long-term maternal and infant outcomes. The present article summarises the key recommendations of the 2015 guidelines and highlights current gaps that hinder optimal implementation; these include late antenatal booking (as a result of poor staff attitudes towards 'early bookers' and foreigners, unsuitable clinic hours, lack of transport to facilities, quota systems being applied to antenatal clients and clinic staff shortages); poor compliance with rapid HIV testing protocols; weak referral systems with inadequate follow-up; inadequate numbers of laboratory staff to handle HIV-related monitoring procedures and return of results to the correct facility; and inadequate supply chain management, leading to interrupted supplies of antiretroviral drugs. Additionally, recommendations are proposed on how to address these gaps. There is a need to evaluate the implementation of the 2015 guidelines and proactively communicate with ground-level implementers to identify operational bottlenecks, test solutions to these bottlenecks, and develop realistic implementation plans.
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