Background & objectives: Prevention of parent-to-child transmission (PPTCT) services are an integral part of National AIDS Control Programme and their critical appraisal is necessary for improving quality care. The present study was conducted to evaluate the performance of PPTCT services in West Bengal during April, 2008 - March 2009 and April 2009 - March 2010 and identify gaps in service delivery for making suitable recommendations.
Methods: Data were collected from the Computerized Management Information System and validated by cross-checking records at each district. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted among programme managers, counsellors and antenatal women attending the Integrated Counselling and Testing Centres. Performance indicators and outcomes of FGDs were analyzed.
Results: The proportion of antenatal women tested declined in 2009-2010 from 2008-2009 (64.3 to 63.8%). Proportions of counseled cases also declined (72.5 vs. 68.4%). HIV positivity rates among those tested were 0.13 and 0.14 per cent, respectively in two years. Proportion of mother-baby pairs receiving nevirapine prophylaxis was increased by 5 per cent. Medical colleges, and category A districts having high HIV prevalence provided better services. Follow up services of HIV-exposed birth cohorts were grossly unsatisfactory.
Interpretation & conclusions: Gaps were identified at each step of service delivery for which capacity building, improvement of infrastructure including laboratory services and ensuring emergency labour room testing up to the sub-district level were imperative. Outsourcing follow up services to other community based organizations may also be considered.