1.1. Background of the study
The greatest challenge to human kind in the 21st century is the epidemic of Acquired immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS).Human Immune Deficiency Virus (HIV) is the causative organism of AIDS which was first discovered in the year 1981. Despite years of campaigns, advocacy, control programmes and awareness exercises taken to curb HIV/AIDS spread, there is still a worrisome rate of increase of the infection. According to UNAIDS (2006), about 33.3 million people are estimated to live with Human immune Deficiency virus globally; 22.5 million of this population are from the sub-Saharan Africa.
Over 55% of these people living with HIV are women of reproductive age who become pregnant. HIV infection in women of reproductive age increase the epidemic of peri-natal HIV (UNAIDS, 2006). About 2.5million children live with HIV globally and 1.8million are from sub-Saharan Africa. Worldwide, over 1700 children become infected with HIV daily (UNAIDS 2006).
In Nigeria, about 69,400 children became infected with HIV through mother-to-child transmission in 2011. This has led to a rise in the total number of children living with HIV in the country to an unprecedented 440,000 (UNAIDS, 2012).
Majumali, (2011), opined that, Virtually all HIV infection in children occurs following mother to child transmission during the antenatal period (pregnancy), intranatal period (labour/delivery) and the post-natal period. Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is about 5-10% during pregnancy, 10-20% during labour and 10-15% during breastfeeding.
There is an estimation of about 20-45% chances of a baby born to an HIV positive mother to become infected without effective interventions to prevention of mother-to-child transmission. With effective interventions, such as use of antiretroviral drugs both for mother formula feeding etc., the risk of mother to child transmission has been shown to reduce by 5%. Primary preventive measures (prevention of new infections in parents, avoiding new pregnancies in HIV infected women) and secondary preventive measures (preventing transmission of HIV from an infected mother to her infant) are the three approaches in reducing mother to child transmission (MTCT) promoted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), (McIntyres $ Gray 2004).New approaches in preventing MTCT to <2% includes use of combined anti-retroviral prophylaxis, elective caesarean section and by avoiding prolonged breastfeeding or mixed feeding.
In Nigeria, despite these preventives measures of mother to child transmission, research has shown poor utilization of these services. Thus, the need for this study.
1.2 Statement of problems
Mother to child transmission of HIV has a lot of impact on the health of the mother and infant including the economy of the country. MTCT increases the prevalence of HIV in infants thereby resulting in increased infant and maternal morbidity and mortality.
Despite the introduction of improved preventive services of MTCT of HIV over the years, HIV infections via MTCT (vertically/ perinatal transmission) is still on the increase in Nigeria. In 2011, about 440,000 infants were infected with HIV (UNAIDS, 2012).
During the researcher’s clinical experience in the antenatal clinic UCTH, it was observed that despite availability of this prevention of MTCT services, very few women utilized the services. For this reason, this pertinent question formed the birth rock of this study: What then are the factors that influence the utilization of prevention of mother to child transmission services?
1.3 Purpose of the study
The purpose of the study is to ascertain the factors influencing the utilization of PMTCT services among pregnant women in antenatal clinic in UCTH.
1.4 Objectives of the study
The specific objectives of the study are:
1.5 Research questions
There is no significant relationship between level of knowledge and utilization of PMTCT services among women.
1.7 Scope of the study
The study is delimited to pregnant women that attended antenatal clinic in University of Calabar Teaching Hospital.
1.8 Significance of the study
It is very important that factors influencing the utilization of PMTCT services in a resource poor setting should be studied. It is important in the context of cross river state where health resources are unevenly distributed between rural and urban areas including distribution of health care providers.
Practically: The findings of this study will be handy for cancelling purposes in ensuring increased utilization of PMTCT services.
Research: The result of this study will increase the existing knowledge on utilization of PMTCT services and will also serve as research as a resource material for further research work.
Nurse/midwife: The findings of this study will help to improve the attitude of Nurses in delivery of PMTCT services to ensure its utilization by pregnant women thereby decreasing the rate of MTCT.
Government: The findings of this study will help improve policies on findings and distribution of PMTCT services in both rural and urban areas to ensure its utilization.
Major limitation was encountered during this study because the Teaching Hospital was on strike and many patients were not (accessed) reached. Also some respondents refused to divulge their information for confidential purposes.
1.10 Operational definition of terms
Factors: are variables that influence utilization of PMTCT services
Utilization: refers to the process of using PMTCT services
PMTCT services: are services that aims at offering preventive measures towards mother to child transmission.
Ante natal: refers a period from conception to the onset of labour
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