MPhil study projects

An exploration of the gaps in and barriers to antenatal care (ANC) attendance and prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV services uptake among adolescent girls at Berea Government Hospital in Lesotho

Student: Limpho Mamorapeli Ts’oeu

Country: Lesotho

This study investigated the factors contributing to delayed presentation, infrequent antenatal care (ANC) attendance and low uptake of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services among pregnant adolescent girls (15-19 years) at Berea Government Hospital, Lesotho.

Employing a retrospective cross-sectional method, routine patient-level data from the maternal, neonates and child health department was reviewed. Data on ANC attendance among adolescent girls was collected from health facility sources using paper-based and telephonic surveys. Descriptive statistics revealed that adolescents had a mean gestational age of 21 weeks at their first ANC visit, with a 16,6% MTCT rate.

Fear of stigma and discrimination, particularly among schoolgoing adolescents, was identified as a significant barrier to ANC attendance. Recommendations included enhancing sexual and reproductive health education, empowering teachers and guardians to communicate HIV-related matters effectively and disaggregating PMTCT data by finer age bands. Strengthening these measures could mitigate late ANC attendance and improve PMTCT outcomes.