The antenatal prevention of congenital syphilis in a peri-urban settlement

  • G. H. Swingler
  • H. A. Van Coeverden De Groot


The obstetric records of patients from Khayelitsha were examined to assess the efficiency of a system for the antenatal prevention of congenital syphilis, and to identify points of breakdown in the process. Seventy-seven (12,7%) of 607 mothers had serological evidence of syphilis, including 10 (32,3%) of31 mothers who had received no antenatal care. Of70 patients who required routine management, only 36 (51,4%) received 3 or more ofthe recommended 4 penicillin injections. Two main weaknesses in the system were identified. One was the centralisation of serological testing. This delayed results reaching the relevant unit, and was responsible for a high cumulative attrition of patients during the many stages necessitated by the centralised testing. The other was a 24,5% attrition of patients referred from the antenatal clinic to a separate sexually transmitted diseases clinic.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0256-95749
print ISSN: 2078-5135