MPhil study projects

Mothers’ perceptions of the use of community health workers and option B+ in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) clinic of the Mission Hospital in Chirundu, Zambia

Student: Martine Bulungu Tshinanu

Country: Zambia

In Zambia, the expansion of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services demonstrated notable success, with a 50% reduction in mother-to-child HIV transmission rates from 2009 to 2012. Despite structured PMTCT antenatal and post-delivery services, a significant proportion of women are however lost to follow-up (LTFU), indicating underlying challenges.

This study investigated the effectiveness of implementing Option B + and community health workers (CHWs) at a PMTCT clinic in Chirundu, Zambia. The methodology involved administering a self-administered questionnaire to all participating mothers attending the clinic over a one-month period, facilitated by CHWs.

A third of participants were tested for HIV prior to 2016, with only a fifth initiating testing in 2020. Most participants were aware of antenatal HIV transmission risks and a large majority acknowledged the efficacy of ARVs in preventing mother-to-child transmission. The majority supported the CHW programme, with a large percentage disagreeing that it increased stigma.

The study concluded that integrating Option B + and CHWs in PMTCT clinics enhanced mothers’ satisfaction, PMTCT knowledge and retention. The research recommended modifying guidelines to incorporate these interventions in PMTCT clinics in Chirundu, Zambia.