Why is mother to child transmission (MTCT) of HIV a continual threat to new-borns in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)

J Infect Public Health. Mar-Apr 2019;12(2):213-223. doi: 10.1016/j.jiph.2018.10.008. Epub 2018 Nov 8.


Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) accounts for more than two thirds of the world's HIV infection. Despite scaled-up prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) programmes, mother to child transmission of HIV (MTCT) continues to escalate. We describe the challenges faced by PMTCT in MTCT in SSA. The study reviewed articles and reports published online. The most common barriers and challenges were non-disclosure of HIV status, late initiation of ARVs treatment/adherence, STIs screening, long clinics waiting time, non-involvement of men in ANC/PMTCT, infant feeding methods and sensitization of community members on ANC/PMTCT programmes. The study highlights the need to expand PMTCT coverage and the implementation of the 90-90-90 programme toward MTCT elimination in SSA. That is " ≥90% of pregnant and breast-feeding mothers must know their HIV status; ≥90% of those that are positive are enrolled on ARVs treatment and care; ≥90% of those on ARVs treatment and care are virally suppressed.

Keywords: HIV; MTCT; PMTCT; Pregnancy; Sub-Saharan Africa.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Africa South of the Sahara / epidemiology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Communicable Disease Control / methods*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission*
  • Health Services Research*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult