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Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV guidelines: Nurses’ views at four primary healthcare facilities in the Limpopo Province

Barbara A. Hanrahan
Adri Williams


Background: When new guidelines for existing programmes are introduced, it is often the clinicians tasked with the execution of the guidelines who bear the brunt of the changes. Frequently their opinions are not sought. In this study, the researcher interviewed registered nurses working in the field of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to gain an understanding of their perspectives on the changes introduced to the guidelines. The guideline changes in 2014 were to move from the World Health Organization (WHO) Option B to Option B + which prescribes lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) for all HIV-positive pregnant women regardless of CD4 cell count.

Objective: To determine what the registered nurses’ perspectives are on the PMTCT programme as implemented at four PHC facilities in the Limpopo Province.

Method: For this qualitative investigation, a descriptive research design was implemented. The data were collected during semi-structured interviews with nurses from four primary healthcare facilities in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Challenges preventing effective implementation (e.g. increased workloads, viz. staff shortages; poor planning of training; equipment and medication shortages and long lead times; poor patient education) were identified.

Conclusion: In spite of the successes of the PMTCT programme, considerable challenges still prevail; lack of patient education, poor facilities management and staff shortages could potentially influence the implementation of the PMTCT guidelines negatively.