Article

Rapid assessment of infant feeding support to HIV-positive women accessing prevention of mother-to-child transmission services in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia

Health Systems Research Unit, Medical Research Council, Francie Van Zyl Drive, Parow, Western Cape 7535, South Africa.
Public Health Nutrition (Impact Factor: 2.68). 05/2009; 12(12):2323-8. DOI: 10.1017/S1368980009005606
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The possibility of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV through breast-feeding has focused attention on how best to support optimal feeding practices especially in low-resource and high-HIV settings, which characterizes most of sub-Saharan Africa. To identify strategic opportunities to minimize late postnatal HIV transmission, we undertook a review of selected country experiences on HIV and infant feeding, with the aims of documenting progress over the last few years and determining the main challenges and constraints.
Field teams conducted national-level interviews with key informants and visited a total of thirty-six facilities in twenty-one sites across the three countries--eighteen facilities in Malawi, eleven in Kenya and seven in Zambia. During these visits interviews were undertaken with key informants such as the district and facility management teams, programme coordinators and health workers.
A rapid assessment of HIV and infant feeding counselling in Kenya, Malawi and Zambia, undertaken from February to May 2007.
Infant feeding counselling has, until now, been given low priority within programmes aimed at prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) of HIV. This is manifest in the lack of resources - human, financial and time--for infant feeding counselling, leading to widespread misunderstanding of the HIV transmission risks from breast-feeding. It has also resulted in lack of space and time for proper counselling, poor support and supervision, and very weak monitoring and evaluation of infant feeding. Finally, there are very few examples of linkages with community-based infant feeding interventions. However, all three countries have started to revise their feeding policies and strategies and there are signs of increased resources.
In order to sustain this momentum it will be necessary to continue the advocacy with the HIV community and stress the importance of child survival--not just minimization of HIV transmission - and hence the need for integrating MTCT prevention.

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    • "A program's efficacy to decrease the number of HIV-infected infants has been studied in Botswana (Creek et al., 2008; Stover et al., 2008), and the professional activity of health workers in antenatal clinics has been studied in Cameroon (Labhardt et al., 2009) and in Botswana, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda (Chopra and Rollins, 2008). The Zambian National Program of PMTCT of HIV has been studied from different aspects, i.e. the sufficiency of health labor for the increasing HIV workload (Walsh et al., 2010), the efficacy of PMTCT of HIV in different age bands among perinatally exposed children (Torpey et al., 2010), sufficiency of funds and human resources to implement a more effective ARV regimen (Nakakeeto and Kumaranayake, 2009), the implementation of an efficacious ARV regimen among HIV-positive pregnant women and associated factors (Mandala et al., 2009) and the infant feeding components of a PMTCT of HIV program (Chopra et al., 2009). No studies have focused on male partners' knowledge of the program of PMTCT of HIV and whether this knowledge conforms to the content of the National Protocol Guidelines of Zambia (National Protocol Guidelines of Zambia, 2008), PMTCT of HIV/AIDS. "
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    ABSTRACT: Male participation in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV has been determined as one of the key factors in sub-Saharan African countries, but its realization is challenging because of male-related and institutional factors. The purpose of this study is two-fold: first, we explored the views of Luba-Kasai men, living in Zambia in the Lusaka Province, on the factors that encourage, inconvenience or inhibit them in accompanying their wives to the antenatal clinic and their ideas to improve their experience. Secondly, the study considered their knowledge of the PMTCT program and how such knowledge conformed to the Zambian National Protocol Guidelines Integrated PMTCT of HIV/AIDS. Twenty-one interviews were analyzed using qualitative inductive content analysis. The National Protocol Guidelines Integrated PMTCT of HIV/AIDS were analyzed using the deductive content analysis. The encouraging factors that emerged were involvement in the program, the time of delivery, love and care, and also the suspicion of corruption. The inconveniencing factors were the arrangements and working culture of the clinic, together with stigma and guilt. A lack of motivation, fear of death, socioeconomic circumstances and again the arrangements and working culture at the clinic were held as inhibiting factors. The ideas to remove inconvenient factors were maintaining a spiritual outlook on life, education, interaction, a good mood and a sense of meaningfulness. Considering such male views and paying attention to minorities in the development of national PMTCT of HIV Programs may enhance male participation in the process.
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    • "We acknowledge that in many poor settings, resources are not made available to ensure that the safe substitution of breast milk is possible, as we have done in Haiti [33,34]. Research has also now opened the door to other safe alternatives for HIV-infected women who wish to continue to breastfeed their infants--specifically by continuing ART use during breastfeeding. "
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    • "This may also be related to lack of clarity of infant feeding recommendations, to stigma associated with not breastfeeding, and/or to lack of safe alternatives to breast milk. Other recent studies from Malawi, Kenya and Zambia described this lack of clarity among health workers and the low priority for infant feeding counseling within PMTCT programs [11-13]. Taha and colleagues conducted a series of trials in Malawi studying the effectiveness of NVP and combination therapy and the impact of breastfeeding on MTCT [14-17]. "
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