Original articles

Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programme: low vertical transmission in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Rosemary Geddes MB ChB, Stephen Knight, MB BCh, FCPHM (SA), Tonya Esterhuizen, MSc, Sandy Reid, RN, Janet Giddy, MB ChB, Dip.PHC.Ed, MFamMed, Candice Roberts, MB ChB, FCOG (SA)


Objective. To describe the operational effectiveness of the PMTCT programme at McCord hospital during the period from 1 March 2004 to 31 August 2005
Design. Observational cohort study
Setting. McCord hospital, Durban, South Africa
Subjects. Antenatal patients attending the PMTCT clinic
Measurements and results. During the 18 months all 2624 women (100%) attending the antenatal clinic received HIV counselling resulting in 91% (2388) being tested for HIV. The prevalence of HIV in this cohort was 12.9% (95% confidence interval (CI) 11.6 to 14.2).
Of the 302 (89%) HIV positive mothers who completed their pregnancy at the hospital, there were 3 intra-uterine deaths, 1 miscarriage, 1 maternal death (with baby in utero) and 297 live births with one early neonatal death. Only 11% (36 out of 338) were lost to follow-up. Of all women attending the antenatal clinic, a quarter (668) of partners was tested for HIV.
Delivery in 70% (209) of live births was by caesarean section. Nevirapine was administered to 98% (290) of live babies and 76% (224) received AZT as well.
The six week PCR baby test uptake was 81% (239 out of 296 live babies). Out of those tested 2.9% (95% CI 1.3-6.2) tested HIV positive.
Conclusion. Despite the challenges faced by PMTCT providers in a resource constrained setting this state-aided hospital provides a comprehensive and integrated service and has achieved outcomes which compare favourably with those in the developed world.

Authors' affiliations

Rosemary Geddes MB ChB, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Stephen Knight, MB BCh, FCPHM (SA), University of KwaZulu-Natal

Tonya Esterhuizen, MSc, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Sandy Reid, RN, McCord Hospital, Durban

Janet Giddy, MB ChB, Dip.PHC.Ed, MFamMed, McCord Hospital, Durban

Candice Roberts, MB ChB, FCOG (SA), McCord Hospital, Durban

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Prevention of mother-to-child transmission; PMTCT; MTCT; HIV; vertical transmission; operational effectiveness;

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2008;98(6):458.

Article History

Date submitted: 2007-04-10
Date published: 2008-04-29

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