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n South African Medical Journal - A bird's eye view of PMTCT coverage at two regional hospitals and their referral clinics in a resource-limited setting : original articles
Background. While countries strengthen their health information systems, local health managers require alternative strategies to monitor their prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) programmes to improve coverage and service delivery.
Objective. To demonstrate the use of a postpartum audit to establish PMTCT coverage and programme deficiencies at hospitals and multiple primary health care facilities.
Methods. A cross-sectional hospital-based medical chart audit of pregnant women admitted in labour to their regional hospital. Their antenatal hand-held medical records were added to a hospital-issued maternity chart that was used to record further obstetric and perinatal management during their hospital stay. Women recuperating in the postnatal wards up to 48 hours after delivery at two hospitals in KwaZulu-Natal participated. Data included their antenatal attendance, access to HIV counselling and testing (HCT), and access to nevirapine (NVP) for PMTCT.
Results. Fifty-three clinics were indirectly evaluated as a result of the postpartum audit. All clinics provided HCT and the average HIV testing rate was 91% (range 40 - 100); 15% (N=8) of these clinics with HIV testing rates of <80% were identified. The median frequency of NVP dispensing at 53 clinics was 87% (interquartile range 67 - 100); among these 30% (N=16) with NVP dispensing frequencies of <80% were identified.
Conclusion. An exit survey by trained nurses at a maternity hospital can provide health services management with a quick estimate of antenatal and PMTCT coverage of multiple primary health facilities in a specified catchment area. Challenges in the PMTCT programme at primary health clinic and hospital levels were highlighted.
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