206942 Follow up of mothers identified through the PMTCT program and linking them to HIV care services: The Family Support Group model

Monday, November 9, 2009

Edgar Kansiime , NUMAT, Gulu, Uganda
Issues: It is essential for identified HIV-positive pregnant mothers to be closely followed up for an effective implementation of the prevention of HIV mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT). Though Ante Natal Care attendance is high and offers an opportunity for it, few pregnant mothers deliver in health facilities or report for post-natal care. Additionally, HIV-positive mothers face challenges like stigma, disclosure and lack of psycho-social support that negatively impacts on their acceptability of PMTCT.

Description: To address the above, Northern Uganda Malaria, AIDS and Tuberculosis Program (NUMAT) supported the concept of Family Support Groups (FSG). These are peer groups where HIV positive mothers and their partners meet regularly to share experiences and offer each other psycho-social support, under the supervision of health workers or volunteers from Community based Organisations (CBOs). Several issues are addressed like sero-status disclosure, adherence, and infant diagnosis and feeding. FSG membership lasts 18 months, after which mothers are linked with HIV chronic care programmes.

Lessons learnt: In the past 2 years, NUMAT has established 46 FSGs and trained 100 facilitators in FSG implementation. As a result, 600 mothers and 100 male partners benefited and were linked to HIV care and support including on-going counseling. Also 200 children had their blood taken and tested for HIV at an early stage.

Recommendations: FSGs have helped mothers to overcome stigma, increase disclosure and adherence besides accessing HIV comprehensive care, including HCT services to family members and early infant diagnosis. Involvement of CBOs especially in mobilization plays a very significant role.

Learning Objectives:
Describe how the Family support group model can improve PMTCT beneficiaries' follow up

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a medical doctor working as HCT/PMTCT manager for JSI in a HIV control programme
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Women and HIV: Emerging Issues
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