Predictors of loss to follow up among HIV-exposed children within the prevention of mother to child transmission cascade, Kericho County, Kenya, 2016
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Predictors of loss to follow up among HIV-exposed children within the prevention of mother to child transmission cascade, Kericho County, Kenya, 2016

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  • Alternative Title:
    Pan Afr Med J
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  • Description:

    HIV-exposed infants (HEI) lost-to-follow-up (LTFU) remains a problem in sub Saharan Africa (SSA). In 2015, SSA accounted >90% of the 150,000 new infant HIV infections, with an estimated 13,000 reported in Kenya. Despite proven and effective HIV interventions, many HEI fail to benefit because of LTFU. LTFU leads to delays or no initiation of interventions, thereby contributing to significant child morbidity and mortality. Kenya did not achieve the <5% mother-to-child HIV transmission target by 2015 because of problems such as LTFU. We sought to investigate factors associated with LTFU of HEI in Kericho County, Kenya.


    A case-control study was conducted in June 2016 employing 1:2 frequency matching by age and hospital of birth. We recruited HEI from HEI birth cohort registers from hospitals for the months of September 2014 through February 2016. Cases were infant-mother pairs that missed their 3-month clinic appointments while controls were those that adhered to their 3-month follow-up visits. Consent was obtained from caregivers and a structured questionnaire was administered. We used chi-square and Fisher's Exact tests to compare groups, calculated odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), and performed logistic regression to identify independent risk factors.


    We enrolled 44 cases and 88 controls aged ≥3 to 18 months: Cases ranged from 7.3-17.8 months old and controls from 6.8-17.2 months old. LTFU cases' caregivers were more likely than controls' caregivers to fear knowing HEI status (aOR= 12.71 [CI 3.21-50.23]), lack knowledge that HEI are followed for 18 months (aOR= 12.01 [CI 2.92-48.83]), avoid partners knowing their HEI status(OR= 11.32 [CI 2.92-44.04]), and use traditional medicine (aOR= 6.42 [CI 1.81-22.91]).Factors that were protective of LTFU included mothers knowing their pre-pregnancy HIV status (aOR= 0.23 [CI 0.05-0.71]) and having household health insurance (aOR= 0.11 [CI 0.01-0.76]).


    Caregivers' intrinsic, interpersonal, community and health system factors remain crucial towards reducing HEI LTFU. Early HIV testing among mothers, disclosure support, health education, and partner involvement is advocated. Encouraging households to enroll in health insurance could be beneficial. Further studies on the magnitude and the reasons for use of home treatments among caregiver are recommended.

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