The impact of approaches in improving male partner involvement in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV on the uptake of maternal antiretroviral therapy among HIV-seropositive pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis

BMJ Open. 2017 Nov 25;7(11):e018207. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-018207.


Objectives: To identify the approaches that are used in improving on male partner involvement in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV and their impact on the uptake maternal antiretroviral therapy (ART) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Setting: This was a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies carried out in SSA at all levels of healthcare (primary, secondary, tertiary and community).

Participants: The participants of the studies included were HIV-positive pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers with their male partners. Studies were included if they were conducted in SSA and mentioned an approach used in improving male partner involvement with data on the impact on the uptake of maternal ART uptake.

Outcomes: In the protocol, maternal ART uptake, infant prophylaxis, safe infant feeding options, condom use and family planning were envisaged. However, only maternal ART has been reported here due to limitations on the word count.

Results: From an initial 2316 non-duplicate articles, 17 articles were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. In the combined model, the ORs for complex community interventions, enhanced psychosocial interventions, verbal encouragement and invitation letters were 4.22 (95% CI 2.27 to 7.77), 2.29 (95% CI 1.42 to 7.69), 2.39 (95% CI 1.26 to 4.53) and 1.21 (95% CI 0.89 to 1.63), respectively, whereas in the model using adjusted ORs, enhanced psychosocial interventions had a higher effect than any other intervention. The heterogeneity was moderate using adjusted ORs.

Conclusion: Enhanced psychosocial interventions and complex community interventions increase male partner involvement and the uptake of PMTCT services more than any other intervention. Invitation letters had no effect. More randomised trials and observational studies (that have adjusted for potential confounders) are needed in the future.

Prospero registration number: 42016032673.

Keywords: health policy; international health services; public health.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sexual Partners / psychology*
  • Social Support