Healthcare workers’ perspectives on availability and accessibility of the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission programme in North West province, South Africa
Background: Despite the availability of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) services, many factors and reasons prevent mothers from accessing these services. HIV prevalence is still high among South African women of reproductive age and mother-to-child-transmission (MTCT) is a concern. This study ascertained the perspectives of healthcare workers regarding availability and accessibility of the PMTCT programme.
Objective: To explore and describe the perspectives of healthcare workers regarding availability and accessibility of the PMTCT programme.
Method: Qualitative research with exploratory-descriptive design was utilised. Data were collected from 21 healthcare workers using three focus-group discussions. The participants were selected based on rendering the PMTCT programme services for more than two years. Moreover, the participants had undergone training, formal education and continuous support on the PMTCT programme. Three large clinics were selected as the main clusters of the sub-district. Tesch’s method was used to analyse the qualitative data.
Results: Healthcare workers indicated ineffective utilisation of the PMTCT programme services by HIV-positive pregnant women. Most women had challenges with child feeding owing to limited knowledge. Another challenge indicated by healthcare workers was lack of resources. It is important that recommendations be implemented to assist with availability and accessibility of the PMTCT programme.
Conclusion: Availability and accessibility of PMTCT programme services are still problematic. The study has the potential to inform development of strategies that may facilitate access to care for PMTCT programme clients.
Keywords: availability, accessibility, healthcare workers, perspectives, prevention of mother-to-child-transmission programme