Knowledge and practice of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV guidelines amongst doctors and nurses at Odi Hospital, Tshwane District
Background: Almost 60 million people are infected with and 25 million people have already died from HIV/AIDS. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region most affected, with 67% of all people living with HIV and 91% of all new infections amongst children and 14 million children orphaned by HIV-related deaths. HIV can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to her child during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. In South Africa (SA) the mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) rate is under 4% at 4 to 8 weeks after birth since implementation of the most recent national prevention of MTCT (PMTCT) programme.
Aim: This study sought to investigate the level of knowledge of nurses and doctors working at Odi Hospital in Tshwane, and whether they were putting the current PMTCT programme into practice.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional survey was undertaken using self-administered questionnaires developed from the current PMTCT guidelines.
Results: Of the 102 participants, 12 (12%) were doctors and 90 (88%) nurses, of whom 9 (9%) were male and 93 (91%) female. Mean knowledge percentage was 60.8% and mean practice percentage was 77%. Regarding knowledge, the question on HIV counselling and testing scored an average 93.1%, while that on doses of drugs used in the PMTCT guidelines scored 17.7%. For practice questions scores ranged from 71% to 82%.
Conclusion: Nurses and doctors working at Odi Hospital knew that HIV counselling and testing is important and must be done for all mothers; however, they were unsure of the dosages of drugs used for PMTCT. More than two-thirds of the doctors and nurses reported practising the PMTCT guidelines, but as their knowledge was inadequate their practice may not be appropriate.
Keywords: AIDS, Anti retroviral drugs, doctors and nurses, HIV, prevention of mother to child transmission