Online Program

Vertical transmission of HIV less than half among mothers belonging to mother-support groups (MSG) compared to non-member mothers at health centers in tigray, Ethiopia

Monday, November 4, 2013

Abraha Mebrahtu, MD, MPH, CHS, ENHAT-CS, Management Sciences for Health, Mekelle, Ethiopia
Tsegazeab Kahsu, MD, Center for Health Services, MSH, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Hagos Godefay, MD, RHB, MOH, Mekele, Ethiopia
Elke Konings, PhD, Center for Health Services, MSH, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Background: Mother-support groups (MSGs) are used at hospitals and health centers in Ethiopia to increase uptake of and adherence to PMTCT and reduce vertical transmission of HIV. A study at Dessie Referral Hospital showed that mothers belonging to MSGs had lower vertical transmission rates. The impact on mothers seen at health centers is not known.

Methods: Data on the outcome of MSGs on vertical transmission were collected from 15 health centers in Tigray between 2008 and 2011. Data sources included MSG registration log books, regional laboratory DNA/PCR results, and the ART enrollment register. We compared HIV status among babies born to mothers belonging to MSG and those whose mothers did not participate in MSG.

Results: A total of 848 HIV-exposed infants (HEIs) were registered between 2008 and 2011. Among 240 HEIs born to mothers enrolled in MSG, 87.5% were tested for HIV and 5.2% were HIV-positive. Among the 608 HEIs whose mothers were not enrolled in MSGs, 44.7% were tested and 11.4% tested HIV-positive (OR = 0.43).

Conclusions: The odds of testing positive were 57% lower among HEIs whose mother was enrolled in an MSG compared to those whose mother was not enrolled. The better outcome appears to be due to the support their mothers received from MSGs resulting in better PMTCT and adherence practices as well as high rates of institutional delivery. We are currently collecting more data on PMTCT regimen, HEI testing by age and place of delivery to verify this hypothesis.

Learning Areas:

Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Assess the outcome of babies born from HIV + mothers who are members of mother support groups. Compare risk of HIV exposed infants born from HIV + mothers who are members and not members of mother support groups

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a regional technical director of Ethiopia Network of HIV/AIDS care and support program and have been working as a regional ART/TB/HIV and Pediatric/PMTCT advisor. Prior to that, I have been also working as an Antiretroviral treatment clinical mentor in the study area and as a lecturer in pediatric and child health in Mekelle university.
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.