Mapping evidence of interventions and strategies to bridge the gap in the implementation of the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programme policy in sub-Saharan countries: A scoping review

Afr J Prim Health Care Fam Med. 2017 May 29;9(1):e1-e10. doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v9i1.1368.


Background: Prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV is a life-saving public health intervention. Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries have made significant progress in the programme, but little is known about the strategies used by them to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

Aim: To map evidence of strategies and interventions employed by SSA in bridging the implementation gap in the rapidly changing PMTCT of HIV programme policy.

Methods: Electronic search of the databases MEDLINE, PubMed and SABINET for articles published in English between 2001 and August 2016. Key words included 'Sub-Saharan African countries', 'implementation strategies', 'interventions to bridge implementation gap', 'prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV' and 'closing implementation gap'.

Results: Of a total of 743 articles, 25 articles that met the inclusion criteria were included in the study. Manual content analysis resulted in the identification of three categories of strategies: (1) health system (referral systems, integration of services, supportive leadership, systematic quality-improvement approaches that vigorously monitors programme performance); (2) health service delivery (task shifting, networking, shared platform for learning, local capacity building, supportive supervision); as well as (3) community-level strategies (community health workers, technology use - mHealth, family-centred approaches, male involvement, culturally appropriate interventions).

Conclusion: There are strategies that exist in SSA countries. Future research should examine multifaceted scientific models to prioritise the highest impact and be evaluated for effectiveness and efficiency.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Capacity Building
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Health Plan Implementation / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / virology
  • Program Evaluation*