Context: Few studies have objectively evaluated the coverage of services to prevent transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from mother to child.
Objective: To measure the coverage of services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission in 4 African countries.
Design, setting, and patients: Cross-sectional surveillance study of mother-infant pairs using umbilical cord blood samples collected between June 10, 2007, and October 30, 2008, from 43 randomly selected facilities (grouped as 25 service clusters) providing delivery services in Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, South Africa, and Zambia. All sites used at least single-dose nevirapine to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission and some sites used additional prophylaxis drugs.
Main outcome measure: Population nevirapine coverage, defined as the proportion of HIV-exposed infants in the sample with both maternal nevirapine ingestion (confirmed by cord blood chromatography) and infant nevirapine ingestion (confirmed by direct observation).
Results: A total of 27,893 cord blood specimens were tested, of which 3324 were HIV seropositive (12%). Complete data for cord blood nevirapine results were available on 3196 HIV-seropositive mother-infant pairs. Nevirapine coverage varied significantly by site (range: 0%-82%). Adjusted for country, the overall coverage estimate was 51% (95% confidence interval [CI], 49%-53%). In multivariable analysis, failed coverage of nevirapine-based services was significantly associated with maternal age younger than 20 years (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 1.44; 95% CI, 1.18-1.76) and maternal age between 20 and 25 years (AOR, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.07-1.54) vs maternal age of older than 30 years; 1 or fewer antenatal care visits (AOR, 2.91; 95% CI, 2.40-3.54), 2 or 3 antenatal care visits (AOR, 1.93; 95% CI, 1.60-2.33), and 4 or 5 antenatal care visits (AOR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.34-1.80) vs 6 or more antenatal care visits; vaginal delivery (AOR, 1.22; 95% CI, 1.03-1.44) vs cesarean delivery; and infant birth weight of less than 2500 g (AOR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.11-1.62) vs birth weight of 3500 g or greater.
Conclusion: In this random sampling of sites with services to prevent mother-to-child HIV transmission, only 51% of HIV-exposed infants received the minimal regimen of single-dose nevirapine.