Integrating PMTCT into Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Related Services: Experiences From the Global Plan Priority Countries

June 2017 - Combination Prevention

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Kiragu, K., Collins, L., Von Zinkernagel, D., and Mushavi, A. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes (May 2017), 75 Suppl 1:S36–S42, doi:10.1097/QAI.0000000000001323.

In 2011, the Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive (Global Plan) urgently advocated expanding delivery of services for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) services through greater integration with sexual and reproductive health and child health services. This article gave an overview of approaches taken by some of the Global Plan's 22 focus countries and identified key programmatic considerations. PMTCT has become progressively integrated within a range of services, including maternal health, pediatrics, antiretroviral therapy, and family planning. Integration has increased access to PMTCT services, and has generally been acceptable to both clients and providers. Promising practices for successful integration included:

  • Foster national-level political will to facilitate the policy and system changes needed for full integration.
  • Ensure that systems for commodity management are in place at all levels and throughout the services that are to be integrated.
  • Support task shifting to accommodate the extra duties and prepare providers fully for the new services.

The authors concluded that full integration will call for strong leadership. They called for a rigorous assessment of the impact of integrating PMTCT into existing programs, including costs, the effects on the wider health care system, and outcomes.

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