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Your search found 2716 Results

  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    HIV and antenatal care in Sri Lanka: a global health success.

    Cousins S

    Lancet. Infectious Diseases. 2017 Nov; 17(11):1126.

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  2. 2

    Of mosquitoes and men: mitigating Zika risk via Men's family planning and male contraception.

    Nguyen BT; Schickler R

    Contraception and Reproductive Medicine. 2018; 3:17.

    Background: Outbreaks of mosquito-borne viral illnesses commonly occur after storms. As storms are predicted to worsen in intensity and frequency, mosquito-borne viruses, including the Zika virus are expected to spread, and with devastating consequences. While the disease is self-limited, pregnant women who contract Zika can transmit the virus to their fetuses, causing neurodevelopmental abnormalities, including microcephaly. An overlooked vector of the Zika virus, however, is men whose semen can transmit the virus at the time of sexual intercourse. Current recommendations for preventing the sexual transmission of Zika are inadequate and need to emphasize male reproductive responsibility, via expanding services for men's family planning and developing novel male contraceptives. Main body: To prevent the sexual transmission of Zika, the World Health Organization recommends that couples use condoms or abstain from sexual activity for at least 6 months when traveling in Zika-infected areas. Strict adherence to these recommendations is neither practical nor adequate to address Zika's sexual transmission. As up to 13% of couples who use condoms experience unintended pregnancy, semen and consequent viral exposure is imminent. The use of contraception beyond just barrier methods is essential. However, the burden of contraception largely falls upon women and efforts to prevent vertical transmission are often aimed at educating women, when the outcome is equally undesirable among their male partners. These short-comings highlight the lack of attention to men's options for family planning. Educating men about the full range of contraceptive options, correcting misconceptions about the efficacy of withdrawal and barrier contraceptive methods, increasing access to vasectomy, and developing novel male contraceptive options would allow shared responsibility for the prevention of unintended pregnancy and Zika-related morbidity. Conclusion: Gaps in recommendations to prevent the sexual transmission of Zika provide an opportunity to develop men's family planning initiatives and the range of accessible contraceptives to men.
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  3. 3
    Peer Reviewed

    Quantification of the effect of terrorism on the HIV response in Nigeria.

    Olakunde BO; Adeyinka DA; Wakdok SS; Oladele TT; Ozigbu CE

    Lancet. 2018 Mar 31; 391(10127):1257-1258.

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  4. 4
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    Adverse effects in children exposed to maternal HIV and antiretroviral therapy during pregnancy in Brazil: a cohort study.

    Delicio AM; Lajos GJ; Amaral E; Cavichiolli F; Polydoro M; Milanez H

    Reproductive Health. 2018 May 10; 15(1):76.

    BACKGROUND: Antiretroviral therapy (ART) in pregnancy was associated with a drastic reduction in HIV mother-to-child transmission (MTCT), although it was associated with neonatal adverse effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the neonatal effects to maternal ART. METHODS: This study was a cohort of newborns from HIV pregnant women followed at the CAISM/UNICAMP Obstetric Clinic from 2000 to 2015. The following adverse effects were evaluated: anemia, thrombocytopenia, liver function tests abnormalities, preterm birth, low birth weight and congenital malformation. Data collected from patients' files was added to a specific database. Descriptive analysis was shown in terms of absolute (n) and relative (%) frequencies and mean, median and standard deviation calculations. The association between variables was tested through Chi-square or Fisher exact test (n < 5) and relative risk (RR) with its respective p values for the categorical ones and t-Student (parametric data) or Mann-Whitney (non-parametric data) for the quantitative ones. The significant level used was 0.05. A multivariate Cox Logistic Regression was done. Statistical analysis was performed using SAS version 9.4. RESULTS: Data from 787 newborns was analyzed. MTCT rate was 2.3%, with 0.8% in the last 5 years. Observed neonatal adverse effects were: liver function tests abnormalities (36%), anemia (25.7%), low birth weight (22.5%), preterm birth (21.7%), children small for gestational age (SGA) (18%), birth defects (10%) and thrombocytopenia (3.6%). In the multivariate analysis, peripartum CD4 higher than 200 cells/mm(3) was protective for low birth weight and preterm birth, and C-section was associated with low birth weight, but not with preterm birth. Neonatal anemia was associated with preterm birth and exposure to maternal AZT. Liver function tests abnormalities were associated with detectable peripartum maternal viral load and exposure to nevirapine. No association was found between different ART regimens or timing of exposure with preterm birth, low birth weight or congenital malformation. CONCLUSION: Highly active antiretroviral treatment in pregnant women and viral load control were the main factors associated with MTCT reduction. Antiretroviral use is associated with a high frequency but mainly low severity adverse effects in newborns.
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  5. 5

    Griffithsin carrageenan fast dissolving inserts prevent SHIV HSV-2 and HPV infections in vivo.

    Derby N; Lal M; Aravantinou M; Kizima L; Barnable P; Rodriguez A; Lifson JD; Peet MM; Lloyd Z; Benson M; Heneine W; O'Keefe BR; Robbiani M; Martinelli E; Grasperge B; Blanchard J; Gettie A; Teleshova N; Fernandez-Romero JA; Zydowsky TM

    Nature Communications. 2018 Sep 24; 9(3881):9 p.

    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) strategies with proven in vivo efficacy rely on antiretroviral drugs, creating the potential for drug resistance and complicated treatment options in individuals who become infected. Moreover, on demand products are currently missing from the PrEP development portfolio. Griffithsin (GRFT) is a non-antiretroviral HIV entry inhibitor derived from red algae with an excellent safety profile and potent activity in vitro. When combined with carrageenan (CG), GRFT has strong activity against herpes simplex virus-2 (HSV-2) and human papillomavirus (HPV) in vitro and in vivo. Here, we report that GRFT/CG in a freeze-dried fast dissolving insert (FDI) formulation for on-demand use protects rhesus macaques from a high dose vaginal SHIV SF162P3 challenge 4 h after FDI insertion. Furthermore, the GRFT/CG FDI also protects mice vaginally against HSV-2 and HPV pseudovirus. As a safe, potent, broad-spectrum, on demand non-antiretroviral product, the GRFT/CG FDI warrants clinical development.
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  6. 6
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    History of the HIV epidemic and response in Swaziland.

    Mabuza K; Dlamini T

    African Journal of AIDS Research. 2017 Dec; 16(4):v-ix.

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  7. 7
    Peer Reviewed

    Retention outcomes and drivers of loss among HIV-exposed and infected infants in Uganda: a retrospective cohort study.

    Kiyaga C; Narayan V; McConnell I; Elyanu P; Kisaakye LN; Kekitiinwa A; Price M; Grosz J

    BMC Infectious Diseases. 2018 Aug 22; 18(1):416.

    BACKGROUND: Uganda's HIV Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) program rapidly scaled up testing of HIV-exposed infants (HEI) in its early years. However, little was known about retention outcomes of HEI after testing. Provision of transport refunds to HEI caregivers was piloted at 3 hospitals to improve retention. This study was conducted to quantify retention outcomes of tested HEI, identify factors driving loss-to-follow-up, and assess the effect of transport refunds on HEI retention. METHODS: This mixed-methods study included 7 health facilities- retrospective cohort review at 3 hospitals and qualitative assessment at all facilities. The cohort comprised all HEI tested from September-2007 to February-2009. Retention data was collected manually at each hospital. Qualitative methods included health worker interviews and structured clinic observation. Qualitative data was synthesized, analyzed and triangulated to identify factors driving HEI loss-to-follow-up. RESULTS: The cohort included 1268 HEI, with 244 testing HIV-positive. Only 57% (718/1268) of tested HEI received results. The transport refund pilot increased the percent of HEI caregivers receiving test results from 54% (n = 763) to 58% (n = 505) (p = .08). HEI were tested at late ages (Mean = 7.0 months, n = 1268). Many HEI weren't tested at all: at 1 hospital, only 18% (67/367) of HIV+ pregnant women brought their HEI for testing after birth. Among HIV+ infants, only 40% (98/244) received results and enrolled at an ART Clinic. Of enrolled HIV+ infants, only 43% (57/98) were still active in chronic care. 36% (27/75) of eligible HIV+ infants started ART. Our analysis identified 6 categories of factors driving HEI loss-to-follow-up: fragmentation of EID services across several clinics, with most poorly equipped for HEI care/follow-up; poor referral mechanisms and data management systems; inconsistent clinical care; substandard counseling; poor health worker knowledge of EID; long sample-result turnaround times. DISCUSSION: The poor outcomes for HEI and HIV+ infants have highlighted an urgent need to improve retention and linkage to care. To address the identified gaps, Uganda's Ministry of Health and the Clinton Health Access Initiative developed a new implementation model, shifting EID from a lab-based diagnostic service to an integrated clinic-based chronic care model. This model was piloted at 21 facilities. An evaluation is needed.
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  8. 8
    Peer Reviewed

    Estimating the cost of diagnosing HIV at birth in Lesotho.

    Tchuenche M; Gill MM; Bollinger L; Mofenson L; Phalatse M; Nchephe M; Mokone M; Tukei V; Tiam A; Forsythe S

    PLoS One. 2018 Aug 15; 13(8):e0202420.

    Background: Infants with HIV infection, particularly those infected in utero, who do not receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) have high mortality in the first year of life. Virologic diagnostic testing is recommended by the World Health Organization between ages 4 and 6 weeks after birth. However, adding very early infant diagnosis (VEID) testing at birth has been suggested to enable earlier diagnosis and rapid treatment of in utero infection. We assessed the costs of adding VEID to the standard 6-week testing in Lesotho where coverage of PMTCT services is nearly universal. Methods: Retrospective cost data were collected at eight health-care facilities in three districts participating in an observational prospective study that included birth testing as well as at the National Reference Laboratory in Lesotho, to investigate the cost-per-infection identified. Extrapolating to the national level, it was possible to estimate the impact of VEID on the identification of HIV-infected infants. Results: The unit cost-per-VEID test in Lesotho in 2015 was $40.50. Major cost drivers were supplies/commodities (46%) and clinical labor (22%). In 2015, 66.3% of cohort study infants born at study facilities underwent VEID; one out of 199 infants had a positive HIV DNA PCR test at birth (0.5% potential in utero infection), yielding a cost of $8,060 per HIV-positive infant identified. Sensitivity analysis showed costs based on Lesotho costing data ranged from $810 to $16,194 per-infected child with varying in utero infection rates from 5% and 0.25%, respectively. With 11,157 HIV-exposed births nationally from pregnant women on PMTCT, 66.3% VEID coverage, and 0.5% in utero infection, 37 infants infected with HIV could have been identified at birth in 2015 and 8 early infant deaths potentially averted with immediate ART compared with waiting for 6-week testing. Conclusion: If Lesotho costing data from this pilot study were applied to different epidemic circumstances, the cost-per-infected child identified by adding VEID birth testing to standard 6-week testing was lowest when in utero infection rates were high (when HIV prevalence is high and PMTCT coverage is low).
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  9. 9

    Evaluation of the Partnership for HIV-Free Survival Country Assessment: Mozambique.

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Carolina Population Center [CPC]. MEASURE Evaluation

    Chapel Hill, North Carolina, University of North Carolina, MEASURE Evaluation, 2018 Aug. 4 p. (USAID Cooperative Agreement AID-OAA-L-14-00004)

    The Partnership for HIV-Free Survival (PHFS) was a six-country initiative implemented between 2012–2016. It was designed to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV and increase child survival. This document focuses on seven components of PHFS in Mozambique highlighted by a legacy evaluation of partnership activities. The findings are based largely on a rapid assessment conducted by MEASURE Evaluation in Mozambique in January 2018. The core components follow: 1) Harmonized quality improvement; 2) Patient records; 3) Mother-baby pairs; 4) Breastfeeding practices; 5) Integration of services; 6) Community-patient links; and 7) Coaching.
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  10. 10
    Peer Reviewed

    Inappropriate infant feeding practices of HIV-positive mothers attending PMTCT services in Oromia regional state, Ethiopia: A cross-sectional study.

    Ejara D; Mulualem D; Gebremedhin S

    International Breastfeeding Journal. 2018; 13(1)

    Background: Inappropriate infant feeding affects the probability of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and HIV-free survival of infants. However, in Ethiopia limited evidence exists regarding the infant feeding practice of mothers who are HIV-positive. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and predictors of inappropriate infant feeding among HIV-positive mothers attending the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) service in Adama and Bushoftu towns, Oromia, central Ethiopia. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in ten PMTCT service providinghealth facilities in the towns; 283 mother-infant pairs were enrolled. Appropriate infant feeding practice was defined as exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of age. Logistic regression was employed to analyze the data and the outputs are presented using adjusted odds ratio (AOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). Results: One hundred thirty of the infants were aged below six months, 103 between 6 and 11months and 50 were older than 12months. The prevalence of inappropriate infant feeding was 14.5% (95% CI 10.6, 18.7). About 6.3% and 8.3% practiced exclusive replacement feeding and mixed feeding respectively, in the first six months. Only 1.8% ever expressed their breast milk to feed their baby and none practiced wet nursing. Among 38 mothers who already discontinued breastfeeding 52.6% did so before 12months of age. Mothers who were HIV-positive and had received antenatal (AOR=0.05: 0.01, 0.30) and postnatal visits (AOR=0.18: 0.04, 0.81); received infant feeding counseling (AOR=0.18: 0.06, 0.55); and disclosed their HIV status to their partners (AOR=0.28: 0.12, 0.63), showed a reduction of practicing inappropriate infant feeding. Mothers having breast problems (AOR=4.89: 1.54, 15.60) and infants with mouth ulcers (AOR=6.41: 2.07, 19.85) were more likely to practice inappropriate feeding. Conclusion: Prompt management of breast complaints in mothers and mouth ulcer in infants; and provision of nutrition counseling to HIV-positive mothers, especially during antenatal and postnatal care, may help to improve the infant feeding practices for HIV exposed infants. © 2018 The Author(s).
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  11. 11

    Performance-Based Financing Empowers Health Workers Delivering Prevention of Vertical Transmission of HIV Services and Decreases Desire to Leave in Mozambique.

    Schuster RC; de Sousa O; Reme AK; Vopelak C; Pelletier DL; Johnson LM; Mbuya M; Pinault D; Young SL

    International Journal of Health Policy and Management. 2018 Jan 1; 7(7):630-644.

    BACKGROUND: Despite increased access to treatment and reduced incidence, vertical transmission of HIV continues to pose a risk to maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa. Performance-based financing (PBF) directed at healthcare providers has shown potential to improve quantity and quality of maternal and child health services. However, the ways in which these PBF initiatives lead to improved service delivery are still under investigation. METHODS: Therefore, we implemented a longitudinal-controlled proof-of-concept PBF intervention at health facilities and with community-based associations focused on preventing vertical transmission of HIV (PVT) in rural Mozambique. We hypothesized that PBF would increase worker motivation and other aspects of the workplace environment in order to achieve service delivery goals. In this paper, we present two objectives from the PBF intervention with public health facilities (n=6): first, we describe the implementation of the PBF intervention and second, we assess the impact of the PBF on health worker motivation, key factors in the workplace environment, health worker satisfaction, and thoughts of leaving. Implementation (objective 1) was evaluated through quantitative service delivery data and multiple forms of qualitative data (eg, quarterly meetings, participant observation (n=120), exit interviews (n=11)). The impact of PBF on intermediary constructs (objective 2) was evaluated using these qualitative data and quantitative surveys of health workers (n=83) at intervention baseline, midline, and endline. RESULTS: We found that implementation was challenged by administrative barriers, delayed disbursement of incentives, and poor timing of evaluation relative to incentive disbursement (objective 1). Although we did not find an impact on the motivation constructs measured, PBF increased collegial support and worker empowerment, and, in a time of transitioning implementing partners, decreased against desire to leave (objective 2). CONCLUSION: Areas for future research include incentivizing meaningful quality- and process-based performance indicators and evaluating how PBF affects the pathway to service delivery, including interactions between motivation and workplace environment factors. (c) 2018 The Author(s); Published by Kerman University of Medical Sciences. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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  12. 12
    Peer Reviewed

    She knows that she will not come back: tracing patients and new thresholds of collective surveillance in PMTCT Option B.

    Cataldo F; Seeley J; Nkhata MJ; Mupambireyi Z; Tumwesige E; Gibb DM

    BMC Health Services Research. 2018 Feb 1; 18(1):76.

    BACKGROUND: Malawi, Uganda, and Zimbabwe have recently adopted a universal 'test-and-treat' approach to the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (Option B+). Amongst a largely asymptomatic population of women tested for HIV and immediately started on antiretroviral treatment (ART), a relatively high number are not retained in care; they are labelled 'defaulters' or 'lost-to-follow-up' patients. METHODS: We draw on data collected as part of a study looking at ART decentralization (Lablite) to reflect on the spaces created through the instrumentalization of community health workers (CHWs) for the purpose of bringing women who default from Option B+ back into care. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with CHWs who are designated to trace Option B+ patients in Uganda, Malawi and Zimbabwe. FINDINGS: Lost to follow up women give a range of reasons for not coming back to health facilities and often implicitly choose not to be traced by providing a false address at enrolment. New strategies have sought to utilize CHWs' liminal positionality - situated between the experience of living with HIV, having established local social ties, and being a caretaker - in order to track 'defaulters'. CHWs are often deployed without adequate guidance or training to protect confidentiality and respect patients' choice. CONCLUSIONS: CHWs provide essential linkages between health services and patients; they embody the role of 'extension workers', a bridge between a novel health policy and 'non-compliant patients'. Option B+ offers a powerful narrative of the construction of a unilateral 'moral economy', which requires the full compliance of patients newly initiated on treatment.
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  13. 13
    Peer Reviewed

    Lay health worker experiences administering a multi-level combination intervention to improve PMTCT retention.

    DiCarlo A; Fayorsey R; Syengo M; Chege D; Sirengo M; Reidy W; Otieno J; Omoto J; Hawken MP; Abrams EJ

    BMC Health Services Research. 2018 Jan 10; 18(1):17.

    BACKGROUND: The recent scale-up of prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) services has rapidly accelerated antiretroviral therapy (ART) uptake among pregnant and postpartum women in sub-Saharan Africa. The Mother and Infant Retention for Health (MIR4Health) study evaluates the impact of a combination intervention administered by trained lay health workers to decrease attrition among HIV-positive women initiating PMTCT services and their infants through 6 months postpartum. METHODS: This was a qualitative study nested within the MIR4Health trial. MIR4Health was conducted at 10 health facilities in Nyanza, Kenya from September 2013 to September 2015. The trial intervention addressed behavioral, social, and structural barriers to PMTCT retention and included: appointment reminders via text and phone calls, follow-up and tracking for missed clinic visits, PMTCT health education at home visits and during clinic visits, and retention and adherence support and counseling. All interventions were administered by lay health workers. We describe results of a nested small qualitative inquiry which conducted two focus groups to assess the experiences and perceptions of lay health workers administering the interventions. Discussions were recorded and simultaneously transcribed and translated into English. Data were analyzed using framework analysis approach. RESULTS: Study findings show lay health workers played a critical role supporting mothers in PMTCT services across a range of behavioral, social, and structural domains, including improved communication and contact, health education, peer support, and patient advocacy and assistance. Findings also identified barriers to the uptake and implementation of the interventions, such as concerns about privacy and stigma, and the limitations of the healthcare system including healthcare worker attitudes. Overall, study findings indicate that lay health workers found the interventions to be feasible, acceptable, and well received by clients. CONCLUSIONS: Lay health workers played a fundamental role in supporting mothers engaged in PMTCT services and provided valuable feedback on the implementation of PMTCT interventions. Future interventions must include strategies to ensure client privacy, decrease stigma within communities, and address the practical limitations of health systems. This study adds important insight to the growing body of research on lay health worker experiences in HIV and PMTCT care. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT01962220 .
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  14. 14

    Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission at primary health care level in Moshi urban Tanzania: uptake challenges and transmission rate.

    Msuya SE; Uriyo J; Hussein T; Mgongo M; Damian DJ; Makuwani A; Stray-Pedersen B

    Global Journal of Medicine and Public Health. 2014; 3(1):11 p.

    BACKGROUND: Tanzania has extended prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) services to primary health care clinics (PHC). Information on challenges and rates of MTCTC of HIV at this level is limited. The study aimed to describe the uptake of PMTCT interventions and MTCT rates at 18 months post-delivery. METHODS: Pregnant women, in their 3rd trimester (N=2654),attending 2 primary health facilities in Moshi were recruited. They were interviewed, tested and women-infant pairs were followed-up for 18 months post-delivery, at which point the exposed children were tested for HIV. RESULTS: Of the 2654 women, 99% accepted testing, 93% returned for their HIV-test results and 7% (184) were HIV-positive. Of the 184 HIV-positive women, 93% (171/184) came for test-results, 71% (130/184) took anti-retroviral prophylaxis (sdNVP) in labor and 59% (103/175) infants received ARV (sdNVP) prophylaxis. HIV-testing at 18 months was conducted for 68% of the exposed infants. The rate of MTCT of HIV was 15.8%. CONCLUSION: Nearly 40% of infants do not receive ARV prophylaxis and there is high rate of loss to follow-up after delivery, which needs urgent improvements. The high transmission rate support testing of exposed-children earlier due to high number of deaths among children < 18 months and missed opportunity to offer early ART care.
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  15. 15
    Peer Reviewed

    Mentor Mothers Zithulele: exploring the role of a peer mentorship program in rural PMTCT care in Zithulele, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

    Hamilton ARL; le Roux KWDP; Young CW; Sodergard B

    Paediatrics and International Child Health. 2018 Aug 13; 1-7.

    BACKGROUND: The majority of global HIV infections in children under 10 years of age occur during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding, despite improved coverage of 'prevention of mother-to-child transmission' (PMTCT) guidelines to reduce vertical transmission. This article looks closer at one community-based peer mentorship programme [Mentor Mothers Zithulele (MMZ)] in the Eastern Cape, South Africa which aims to supplement the existing heavily burdened antenatal programmes and improve PMTCT care. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were undertaken with HIV-positive women participating in MMZ and women receiving standard PMTCT care without any intervention. A focus group discussion (FGD) was conducted with women working as Mentor mothers (MMs) for MMZ to explore their experience of the impact of peer mentoring on the rural communities they serve. RESULTS: Six main themes were identified in the interviews with antenatal patients: (i) MMs were a key educational resource, (ii) MMs were important in promoting exclusive breastfeeding, (iii) encouraging early HIV testing during pregnancy and (iv) providing psychosocial support to patients in their homes, thereby reducing stigma and sense of alienation. Respondents requested (v) additional focus on HIV education. MMs can (vi) function as a link between patients and health-care providers, improving treatment adherence. During the FGD two themes emerged; MMs fill the gap between patients and health services, and MMZ should focus on HIV awareness and stigma reduction. CONCLUSION: Peer mentoring programmes can play an important role in reducing vertical HIV transmission in resource-limited, rural settings by providing participants with education, psychosocial support, and a continuum of care.
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  16. 16
    Peer Reviewed

    Perceptions about data-informed decisions: an assessment of information-use in high HIV-prevalence settings in South Africa.

    Nicol E; Bradshaw D; Uwimana-Nicol J; Dudley L

    BMC Health Services Research. 2017 Dec 4; 17(Suppl 2):765.

    BACKGROUND: Information-use is an integral component of a routine health information system and essential to influence policy-making, program actions and research. Despite an increased amount of routine data collected, planning and resource-allocation decisions made by health managers for managing HIV programs are often not based on data. This study investigated the use of information, and barriers to using routine data for monitoring the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programs in two high HIV-prevalence districts in South Africa. METHODS: We undertook an observational study using a multi-method approach, including an inventory of facility records and reports. The performance of routine information systems management (PRISM) diagnostic 'Use of Information' tool was used to assess the PMTCT information system for evidence of data use in 57 health facilities in two districts. Twenty-two in-depth interviews were conducted with key informants to investigate barriers to information use in decision-making. Participants were purposively selected based on their positions and experience with either producing PMTCT data and/or using data for management purposes. We computed descriptive statistics and used a general inductive approach to analyze the qualitative data. RESULTS: Despite the availability of mechanisms and processes to facilitate information-use in about two-thirds of the facilities, evidence of information-use (i.e., indication of some form of information-use in available RHIS reports) was demonstrated in 53% of the facilities. Information was inadequately used at district and facility levels to inform decisions and planning, but was selectively used for reporting and monitoring program outputs at the provincial level. The inadequate use of information stemmed from organizational issues such as the lack of a culture of information-use, lack of trust in the data, and the inability of program and facility managers to analyze, interpret and use information. CONCLUSIONS: Managers' inability to use information implied that decisions for program implementation and improving service delivery were not always based on data. This lack of data use could influence the delivery of health care services negatively. Facility and program managers should be provided with opportunities for capacity development as well as practice-based, in-service training, and be supported to use information for planning, management and decision-making.
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  17. 17

    You Will Know That Despite Being HIV Positive You Are Not Alone: Qualitative Study to Inform Content of a Text Messaging Intervention to Improve Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV Transmission.

    Fairbanks J; Beima-Sofie K; Akinyi P; Matemo D; Unger JA; Kinuthia J; O'Malley G; Drake AL; John-Stewart G; Ronen K

    JMIR MHealth and UHealth. 2018 Jul 19; 6(7):e10671.

    BACKGROUND: Prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) relies on long-term adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART). Mobile health approaches, such as text messaging (short message service, SMS), may improve adherence in some clinical contexts, but it is unclear what SMS content is desired to improve PMTCT-ART adherence. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to explore the SMS content preferences related to engagement in PMTCT care among women, male partners, and health care workers. The message content was used to inform an ongoing randomized trial to enhance the PMTCT-ART adherence. METHODS: We conducted 10 focus group discussions with 87 HIV-infected pregnant or postpartum women and semistructured individual interviews with 15 male partners of HIV-infected women and 30 health care workers from HIV and maternal child health clinics in Kenya. All interviews were recorded, translated, and transcribed. We analyzed transcripts using deductive and inductive approaches to characterize women's, partners', and health care workers' perceptions of text message content. RESULTS: All women and male partners, and most health care workers viewed text messages as a useful strategy to improve engagement in PMTCT care. Women desired messages spanning 3 distinct content domains: (1) educational messages on PMTCT and maternal child health, (2) reminder messages regarding clinic visits and adherence, and (3) encouraging messages that provide emotional support. While all groups valued reminder and educational messages, women highlighted emotional support more than the other groups (partners or health care workers). In addition, women felt that encouraging messages would assist with acceptance of their HIV status, support disclosure, improve patient-provider relationship, and provide support for HIV-related challenges. All 3 groups valued not only messages to support PMTCT or HIV care but also messages that addressed general maternal child health topics, stressing that both HIV- and maternal child health-related messages should be part of an SMS system for PMTCT. CONCLUSIONS: Women, male partners, and health care workers endorsed SMS text messaging as a strategy to improve PMTCT and maternal child health outcomes. Our results highlight the specific ways in which text messaging can encourage and support HIV-infected women in PMTCT to remain in care, adhere to treatment, and care for themselves and their children. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT02400671; (Archived by WebCite at (c)Jade Fairbanks, Kristin Beima-Sofie, Pamela Akinyi, Daniel Matemo, Jennifer A Unger, John Kinuthia, Gabrielle O'Malley, Alison L Drake, Grace John-Stewart, Keshet Ronen. Originally published in JMIR Mhealth and Uhealth (, 19.07.2018.
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  18. 18
    Peer Reviewed

    Long-Lasting Insecticidal Nets for Malaria Control in Myanmar and Nigeria: Lessons From the Past, Tools for the Future.

    Macdonald MB

    Global Health, Science and Practice. 2018 Jun 27; 6(2):237-241.

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  19. 19
    Peer Reviewed

    Observe Before You Leap: Why Observation Provides Critical Insights for Formative Research and Intervention Design That You'll Never Get From Focus Groups, Interviews, or KAP Surveys.

    Harvey SA

    Global Health, Science and Practice. 2018 Jun 27; 6(2):298-315.

    Formative research is essential to designing both study instruments and interventions in global health. While formative research may employ many qualitative methods, focus group discussions and in-depth interviews are the most common. Observation is less common but can generate insights unlikely to emerge from any other method. This article presents 4 case studies in which observation revealed critical insights: corralling domestic poultry to reduce childhood diarrhea, promoting insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) to prevent malaria, evaluating skilled birth attendant competency to manage life-threatening obstetric and neonatal complications, and assessing community health worker (CHW) ability to use malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs). Observation of Zambian CHWs to design malaria RDT training materials revealed a need for training on how to take finger-stick blood samples, a procedure second nature to many health workers but one that few CHWs had ever performed. In Lima, Peru, study participants reported keeping their birds corralled "all the time," but observers frequently found them loose, a difference potentially explained by an alternative interpretation of the phrase "all the time" to mean "all the time (except at some specific seemingly obvious times)." In the Peruvian Amazon, observation revealed a potential limitation of bed net efficacy due to the built environment: In houses constructed on stilts, many people sleep directly on the floor, allowing mosquitoes to bite from below through gaps in the floorboards. Observation forms and checklists from each case study are included as supplemental files; these may serve as models for designing new observation guides. The case studies illustrate the value of observation to clearly understanding clinical practices and skills, details about how people carry out certain tasks, routine behaviors people would most likely not think to describe in an interview, and environmental barriers that must be overcome if an intervention is to succeed. Observation provides a way to triangulate for social desirability bias and to measure details that interview or focus group participants are unlikely to recognize, remember, or be able to describe with precision.
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  20. 20
    Peer Reviewed

    Influences on Exclusive Breastfeeding Among Rural HIV-Infected South African Women: A Cluster Randomized Control Trial.

    Jones DL; Rodriguez VJ; Mandell LN; Lee TK; Weiss SM; Peltzer K

    AIDS and Behavior. 2018 Jun 20;

    South African guidelines for prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission (PMTCT) of HIV emphasize exclusive breastfeeding (EBF). This study examined the impact of a PMTCT intervention and male involvement on EBF. In a two-phase cluster-randomized trial, rural South African community health centers were randomized to offer HIV-infected pregnant women PMTCT standard of care plus either: a behavioral PMTCT intervention, or a time-equivalent attention-control condition. Phase 1 women had non-participating male partners; Phase 2 women had participating partners. Pregnant women (n = 1398) were assessed on HIV stigma, disclosure of HIV status to partner, male involvement, and family planning knowledge. Feeding practices were assessed 6 weeks postpartum (56% retained). Reduced depressive symptomatology predicted EBF 6 weeks postpartum, adjusting for attrition (AOR = 0.954, p = 0.001). Neither male involvement in antenatal care, phase, HIV stigma, disclosure, nor family planning knowledge predicted EBF. Future studies and perinatal care should address depression, which has important implications for infant health.
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  21. 21
    Peer Reviewed

    Factors associated with HIV positive sero-status among exposed infants attending care at health facilities: a cross sectional study in rural Uganda.

    Kahungu MM; Kiwanuka J; Kaharuza F; Wanyenze RK

    BMC Public Health. 2018 Jan 16; 18(1):139.

    BACKGROUND: East and South Africa contributes 59% of all pediatric HIV infections globally. In Uganda, HIV prevalence among HIV exposed infants was estimated at 5.3% in 2014. Understanding the remaining bottlenecks to elimination of mother-to-child transmission (eMTCT) is critical to accelerating efforts towards eMTCT. This study determined factors associated with HIV positive sero-status among exposed infants attending mother-baby care clinics in rural Kasese so as to inform enhancement of interventions to further reduce MTCT. METHODS: This was a cross-sectional mixed methods study. Quantitative data was derived from routine service data from the mother's HIV care card and exposed infant clinical chart. Key informant interviews were conducted with health workers and in-depth interviews with HIV infected mothers. Quantitative data was analyzed using Stata version 12. Logistic regression was used to determine factors associated with HIV sero-status. Latent content analysis was used to analyse qualitative data. RESULTS: Overall, 32 of the 493 exposed infants (6.5%) were HIV infected. Infants who did not receive ART prophylaxis at birth (AOR = 4.9, 95% CI: 1.901-13.051, p=0.001) and those delivered outside of a health facility (AOR = 5.1, 95% CI: 1.038 - 24.742, p = 0.045) were five times more likely to be HIV infected than those who received prophylaxis and those delivered in health facilities, respectively. Based on the qualitative findings, health system factors affecting eMTCT were long waiting time, understaffing, weak community follow up system, stock outs of Neverapine syrup and lack of HIV testing kits. CONCLUSION: Increasing facility based deliveries and addressing underlying health system challenges related to staffing and availability of the required commodities may further accelerate eMTCT.
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  22. 22
    Peer Reviewed

    Identifying gaps in HIV policy and practice along the HIV care continuum: evidence from a national policy review and health facility surveys in urban and rural Kenya.

    Cawley C; McRobie E; Oti S; Njamwea B; Nyaguara A; Odhiambo F; Otieno F; Njage M; Shoham T; Church K; Mee P; Todd J; Zaba B; Reniers G; Wringe A

    Health Policy and Planning. 2017 Nov 1; 32(9):1316-1326.

    The last decade has seen rapid evolution in guidance from the WHO concerning the provision of HIV services along the diagnosis-to-treatment continuum, but the extent to which these recommendations are adopted as national policies in Kenya, and subsequently implemented in health facilities, is not well understood. Identifying gaps in policy coverage and implementation is important for highlighting areas for improving service delivery, leading to better health outcomes. We compared WHO guidance with national policies for HIV testing and counselling, prevention of mother-to-child transmission, HIV treatment and retention in care. We then investigated implementation of these national policies in health facilities in one rural (Kisumu) and one urban (Nairobi) sites in Kenya. Implementation was documented using structured questionnaires that were administered to in-charge staff at 10 health facilities in Nairobi and 34 in Kisumu. Policies were defined as widely implemented if they were reported to occur in > 70% facilities, partially implemented if reported to occur in 30-70% facilities, and having limited implementation if reported to occur in < 30% facilities. Overall, Kenyan national HIV care and treatment policies were well aligned with WHO guidance. Policies promoting access to treatment and retention in care were widely implemented, but there was partial or limited implementation of several policies promoting access to HIV testing, and the more recent policy of Option B+ for HIV-positive pregnant women. Efforts are needed to improve implementation of policies designed to increase rates of diagnosis, thus facilitating entry into HIV care, if morbidity and mortality burdens are to be further reduced in Kenya, and as the country moves towards universal access to antiretroviral therapy.
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  23. 23
    Peer Reviewed

    The gendered micropolitics of hiding and disclosing: assessing the spread and stagnation of information on two new EMTCT policies in a Malawian village.

    Verheijen J

    Health Policy and Planning. 2017 Nov 1; 32(9):1309-1315.

    Analysing why certain information spreads-or not-can be highly relevant for understanding an intervention's potential impact. Two recently implemented policy changes related to EMTCT (elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV) in the Balaka district of Malawi give ample opportunity to assess how new information trickles through a targeted rural community. One of the policies entails the lifetime provision of ART (anti-retroviral therapy) to all HIV+ pregnant women-a governmental strategy to EMTCT first initiated in Malawi and now being expanded throughout the region. The second new policy concerns a pilot project in which women are financially rewarded for attending antenatal care and delivering in the hospital. An in-depth anthropological approach was used to assess what women in one village community know about the policy changes and how they had come to know about it. Although the policies were implemented more or less at the same time, awareness and knowledge levels among village women differed largely: In case of the first, awareness stagnated at the level of those who directly received the information from health professionals. In the case of the second, highly accurate and up-to-date knowledge had spread throughout the village community. I suggest three reasons for this divergence: (i) perceived talk-worthiness of (issues addressed by) the interventions, (ii) motives for hiding or disclosing involvement in either of the interventions and (iii) the visibility of each intervention, or in other words, the (im)possibility to hide involvement. I argue that these reasons for women's structural silence on one policy change and prompt sharing of information on another follow a distinctly gendered logic. The findings underline that the diffusion of new information is to a great extent shaped by the social particularities of the context in which it is introduced.
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  24. 24
    Peer Reviewed

    A framework for healthcare interventions to address maternal morbidity.

    Firoz T; McCaw-Binns A; Filippi V; Magee LA; Costa ML; Cecatti JG; Barreix M; Adanu R; Chou D; Say L

    International Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics. 2018 May; 141 Suppl 1:61-68.

    The maternal health agenda is undergoing a paradigm shift from preventing maternal deaths to promoting women's health and wellness. A critical focus of this trajectory includes addressing maternal morbidity and the increasing burden of chronic and noncommunicable diseases (NCD) among pregnant women. The WHO convened the Maternal Morbidity Working Group (MMWG) to improve the scientific basis for defining, measuring, and monitoring maternal morbidity. Based on the MMWG's work, we propose paradigms for conceptualizing maternal health and related interventions, and call for greater integration between maternal health and NCD programs. This integration can be synergistic, given the links between chronic conditions, morbidity in pregnancy, and long-term health. Pregnancy should be viewed as a window of opportunity into the current and future health of women, and offers critical entry points for women who may otherwise not seek or have access to care for chronic conditions. Maternal health services should move beyond the focus on emergency obstetric care, to a broader approach that encompasses preventive and early interventions, and integration with existing services. Health systems need to respond by prioritizing funding for developing integrated health programs, and workforce strengthening. The MMWG's efforts have highlighted the changing landscape of maternal health, and the need to expand the narrow focus of maternal health, moving beyond surviving to thriving.
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  25. 25
    Peer Reviewed

    UNICEF's contribution to the adoption and implementation of option B+ for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV: a policy analysis.

    Chersich MF; Newbatt E; Ng'oma K; de Zoysa I

    Globalization and Health. 2018 Jun 1; 14(1):55.

    BACKGROUND: Between 2011 and 2013, global and national guidelines for preventing mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV shifted to recommend Option B+, the provision of lifelong antiretroviral treatment for all HIV-infected pregnant women. METHODS: We aimed to analyse how Option B+ reached the policy agenda, and unpack the processes, actors and politics that explain its adoption, with a focus on examining UNICEF's contribution to these events. Analysis drew on published articles and other documentation, 30 key informants interviews with staff at UNICEF, partner organisations and government officials, and country case studies. Cameroon, India, South Africa and Zimbabwe were each visited for 5-8 days. Interview transcripts were analysed using Dedoose software, reviewed several times and then coded thematically. RESULTS: A national policy initiative in Malawi in 2011, in which the country adopted Option B+, rather than existing WHO recommended regimens, irrevocably placed the policy on the global agenda. UNICEF and other organisations recognised the policy's potential impact and strategically crafted arguments to support it, framing these around operational considerations, cost-effectiveness and values. As 'policy entrepreneurs', these organisations vigorously promoted the policy through a variety of channels and means, overcoming concerted opposition. WHO, on the basis of scanty evidence, released a series of documents towards the policy's endorsement, paving the way for its widespread adoption. National-level policy transformation was rapid and definitive, distinct from previous incremental policy processes. Many organisations, including UNICEF, facilitated these changes in country, acting individually, or in concert. CONCLUSIONS: The adoption of the Option B+ policy marked a departure from established processes for PMTCT policy formulation which had been led by WHO with the support of technical experts, and in which recommendations were developed following shifts in evidence. Rather, changes were spurred by a country-level initiative, and a set of strategically framed arguments that resonated with funders and country-level actors. This bottom-up approach, supported by normative agencies, was transformative. For UNICEF, alignment between the organisation's country focus and the policy's underpinning values, enabled it to work with partners and accelerate widespread policy change.
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