Publications by authors named "Angela Mushavi"

44 Publications

Eliminating mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, syphilis and hepatitis B in sub-Saharan Africa.

Bull World Health Organ 2021 Apr 21;99(4):287-295. Epub 2021 Jan 21.

Global HIV, Hepatitis and STI Programmes, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Triple elimination is an initiative supporting the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of three diseases - human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, syphilis and hepatitis B. Significant progress towards triple elimination has been made in some regions, but progress has been slow in sub-Saharan Africa, the region with the highest burden of these diseases. The shared features of the three diseases, including their epidemiology, disease interactions and core interventions for tackling them, enable an integrated health-systems approach for elimination of mother-to-child transmission. Current barriers to triple elimination in sub-Saharan Africa include a lack of policies, strategies and resources to support the uptake of well established preventive and treatment interventions. While much can be achieved with existing tools, the development of new products and models of care, as well as a prioritized research agenda, are needed to accelerate progress on triple elimination in sub-Saharan Africa. In this paper we aim to show that health systems working together with communities in sub-Saharan Africa could deliver rapid and sustainable results towards the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of all three diseases. However, stronger political support, expansion of evidence-based interventions and better use of funding streams are needed to improve efficiency and build on the successes in prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. Triple elimination is a strategic opportunity to reduce the morbidity and mortality from HIV infection, syphilis and hepatitis B for mothers and their infants within the context of universal health coverage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.20.272559DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8085625PMC
April 2021

Early retention among pregnant women on 'Option B + ' in urban and rural Zimbabwe.

AIDS Res Ther 2021 04 1;18(1):10. Epub 2021 Apr 1.

National AIDS Council, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Background: In 2013, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended Option B+ as a strategy to prevent mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. In option B+ , lifelong antiretroviral therapy (ART) is offered to all HIV positive pregnant and breastfeeding women to reduce MTCT rate to less than or equal to 5%. Its success depends on retaining women on ART during pregnancy, delivery and breast-feeding period. There is limited data on early retention on ART among pregnant women in Zimbabwe. We therefore assessed early retention among women on Option B + from antenatal care (ANC) until 6 months post ANC booking and at delivery in Bulawayo city and Mazowe rural district of Zimbabwe.

Methods: We collected data for pregnant women booking for ANC between January and March 2018, comparing early retention among ART naïve women and those already on ART. The two cohorts were followed up for 6 months post ANC booking, and this was done in two districts. Data were collected from routine tools used at facility level which include ANC, delivery and ART registers. The Kaplan-Meier survival analysis was used to estimate retention probabilities at 1, 3 and 6 months post-delivery and for retention at delivery proportions were used. Poisson regression was used to investigate factors associated with non-retention at 6 months post ANC booking.

Results: A total of 388 women were included in the study with median age of 29 years (IQR: 25-34). Two-thirds booked in their second trimester. Retention at 3 and 6 months post ANC booking was 84% (95% CI 80-88) and 73% (95% CI 69-78) respectively. At delivery 81% (95% CI 76-84) were retained in care, 18% lost-to-follow-up and 1% transferred out. In this study we did not find marital status, gestation age, facility location, ART status at ANC booking, to be associated with loss to follow-up.

Conclusion: In this study, we found low retention at 3, 6 months and delivery, a threat to elimination of Mother-to-child Transmission of HIV in Zimbabwe. Our findings emphasize the need for enhanced interventions to improve early retention such as post-test counselling, patient tracing and visit reminders.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12981-021-00333-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8015197PMC
April 2021

Optimizing infant HIV diagnosis with additional screening at immunization clinics in three sub-Saharan African settings: a cost-effectiveness analysis.

J Int AIDS Soc 2021 01;24(1):e25651

Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Introduction: Uptake of early infant HIV diagnosis (EID) varies widely across sub-Saharan African settings. We evaluated the potential clinical impact and cost-effectiveness of universal maternal HIV screening at infant immunization visits, with referral to EID and maternal antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation.

Methods: Using the CEPAC-Pediatric model, we compared two strategies for infants born in 2017 in Côte d'Ivoire (CI), South Africa (SA), and Zimbabwe: (1) existing EID programmes offering six-week nucleic acid testing (NAT) for infants with known HIV exposure (EID), and (2) EID plus universal maternal HIV screening at six-week infant immunization visits, leading to referral for infant NAT and maternal ART initiation (screen-and-test). Model inputs included published Ivoirian/South African/Zimbabwean data: maternal HIV prevalence (4.8/30.8/16.1%), current uptake of EID (40/95/65%) and six-week immunization attendance (99/74/94%). Referral rates for infant NAT and maternal ART initiation after screen-and-test were 80%. Costs included NAT ($24/infant), maternal screening ($10/mother-infant pair), ART ($5 to 31/month) and HIV care ($15 to 190/month). Model outcomes included mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) among HIV-exposed infants, and life expectancy (LE) and mean lifetime per-person costs for children with HIV (CWH) and all children born in 2017. We calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) using discounted (3%/year) lifetime costs and LE for all children. We considered two cost-effectiveness thresholds in each country: (1) the per-capita GDP ($1720/6380/2150) per year-of-life saved (YLS), and (2) the CEPAC-generated ICER of offering 2 versus 1 lifetime ART regimens (e.g. offering second-line ART; $520/500/580/YLS).

Results: With EID, projected six-week MTCT was 9.3% (CI), 4.2% (SA) and 5.2% (Zimbabwe). Screen-and-test decreased total MTCT by 0.2% to 0.5%, improved LE by 2.0 to 3.5 years for CWH and 0.03 to 0.07 years for all children, and increased discounted costs by $17 to 22/child (all children). The ICER of screen-and-test compared to EID was $1340/YLS (CI), $650/YLS (SA) and $670/YLS (Zimbabwe), below the per-capita GDP but above the ICER of 2 versus 1 lifetime ART regimens in all countries.

Conclusions: Universal maternal HIV screening at immunization visits with referral to EID and maternal ART initiation may reduce MTCT, improve paediatric LE, and be of comparable value to current HIV-related interventions in high maternal HIV prevalence settings like SA and Zimbabwe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jia2.25651DOI Listing
January 2021

Using the critical path method to rollout and optimise new PMTCT guidelines to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Zimbabwe: a descriptive analysis.

BMC Health Serv Res 2020 Nov 13;20(1):1042. Epub 2020 Nov 13.

Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation, Washington DC, USA.

Background: Achievement of the elimination target for mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV in selected countries has increased hope to end the HIV epidemic in children across the world. However, MTCT rates remain well above the 5% elimination target in most sub-Saharan Africa countries. These countries require innovative strategies to scale-up their interventions to end paediatric HIV. We describe how the Elizabeth Glaser Paediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) consortium and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) used the critical path method to facilitate rapid expansion and optimization of 2010 and 2013 WHO PMTCT guidelines to reduce Zimbabwe's MTCT rate from 22% in 2010 to 6.4% in 2015.

Methods: We analysed activities implemented and PMTCT programme data for the period before and during the EGPAF-CIFF project. The critical path method involved a cycle of collecting and analysing quarterly PMTCT indicator data and planning and implementing targeted activities to improve the PMTCT indicators. We performed a graphical trend analysis of data that measured availability of PMTCT services. Using Pearson's Chi2 test, we compared results of PMTCT uptake indicators at the start and end of the EGPAF-CIFF project and used regression discontinuity analysis to assess effectiveness of activities implemented to improve the PMTCT service uptake indicators.

Results: Zimbabwe rolled out WHO 2010 and 2013 PMTCT guidelines in less than 1 year during the EGPAF-CIFF project, yet it took more than 4 years to roll-out previous guidelines. All PMTCT indicators increased significantly (p < 0.001) comparing the five-year periods before and during the EGPAF-CIFF project. Critical path activities implemented increased five of the seven PMTCT uptake indicators.

Conclusion: Zimbabwe rapidly rolled-out and optimised new WHO PMTCT guidelines and drastically reduced its MTCT rate using the critical path method. We recommend wider use of the critical path method in public health programmes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12913-020-05900-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7663875PMC
November 2020

Use of data from various sources to evaluate and improve the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV programme in Zimbabwe: a data integration exercise.

J Int AIDS Soc 2020 06;23 Suppl 3:e25524

Centre for Sexual Health and HIV AIDS Research, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Introduction: Despite improvements in prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV outcomes, there remain unacceptably high numbers of mother-to-child transmissions (MTCT) of HIV. Programmes and research collect multiple sources of PMTCT data, yet this data is rarely integrated in a systematic way. We conducted a data integration exercise to evaluate the Zimbabwe national PMTCT programme and derive lessons for strengthening implementation and documentation.

Methods: We used data from four sources: research, Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC) programme, Implementer - Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development, and modelling. Research data came from serial population representative cross-sectional surveys that evaluated the national PMTCT programme in 2012, 2014 and 2017/2018. MOHCC and Organization for Public Health Interventions and Development collected data with similar indicators for the period 2018 to 2019. Modelling data from 2017/18 UNAIDS Spectrum was used. We systematically integrated data from the different sources to explore PMTCT programme performance at each step of the cascade. We also conducted spatial analysis to identify hotspots of MTCT.

Results: We developed cascades for HIV-positive and negative-mothers, and HIV exposed and infected infants to 24 months post-partum. Most data were available on HIV positive mothers. Few data were available 6-8 weeks post-delivery for HIV exposed/infected infants and none were available post-delivery for HIV-negative mothers. The different data sources largely concurred. Antenatal care (ANC) registration was high, although women often presented late. There was variable implementation of PMTCT services, MTCT hotspots were identified. Factors positively associated with MTCT included delayed ANC registration and mobility (use of more than one health facility) during pregnancy/breastfeeding. There was reduced MTCT among women whose partners accompanied them to ANC, and infants receiving antiretroviral prophylaxis. Notably, the largest contribution to MTCT was from postnatal women who had previously tested negative (12/25 in survey data, 17.6% estimated by Spectrum modelling). Data integration enabled formulation of interventions to improve programmes.

Conclusions: Data integration was feasible and identified gaps in programme implementation/documentation leading to corrective interventions. Incident infections among mothers are the largest contributors to MTCT: there is need to strengthen the prevention cascade among HIV-negative women.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jia2.25524DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7325515PMC
June 2020

HIV-exposed uninfected infant morbidity and mortality within a nationally representative prospective cohort of mother-infant pairs in Zimbabwe.

AIDS 2020 07;34(9):1339-1346

Division of Global HIV and TB, Center for Global Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Objective: To examine morbidity and mortality risk among HIV-exposed uninfected (HEU) infants.

Design: Secondary data analysis of HEU infants in a prospective cohort study of mother-infant pairs.

Methods: Infants were recruited from immunization clinics (n = 151) in Zimbabwe from February to August 2013, enrolled at 4-12 weeks age, and followed every 3 months until incident HIV-infection, death, or 18-month follow-up. We estimated cumulative mortality probability and hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using Kaplan-Meier curves and Cox regression, respectively. We also described reported reasons for infant hospitalization and symptoms preceding death. Median weight-for-age z-scores (WAZ) and median age were calculated and analyzed across study visits.

Results: Of 1188 HIV-exposed infants, 73 (6.1%) contracted HIV; we analyzed the remaining 1115 HEU infants. In total, 54 (4.8%) infants died, with median time to death of 5.5 months since birth (interquartile range: 3.6-9.8 months). Diarrhea, difficulty breathing, not eating, fever, and cough were commonly reported (range: 7.4-22.2%) as symptoms preceding infant death. Low birth weight was associated with higher mortality (adjusted hazard ratio 2.66, CI: 1.35-5.25), whereas maternal antiretroviral therapy predelivery (adjusted hazard ratio 0.34, CI: 0.18-0.64) and exclusive breastfeeding (adjusted hazard ratio 0.50, CI: 0.28-0.91) were associated with lower mortality. Overall, 9.6% of infants were hospitalized. Infant median WAZ declined after 3 months of age, reaching a minimum at 14.5 months of age, at which 50% of infants were underweight (WAZ below -2.0).

Conclusion: Clinical interventions including maternal antiretroviral therapy; breastfeeding and infant feeding counseling and support; and early prevention, identification, and management of childhood illness; are needed to reduce HEU infant morbidity and mortality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000002567DOI Listing
July 2020

Effectiveness of Maternal Transmission Risk Stratification in Identification of Infants for HIV Birth Testing: Lessons From Zimbabwe.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2020 07;84 Suppl 1:S28-S33

Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Background: In 2017, Zimbabwe adopted a modified version of the World Health Organization 2016 recommendation on HIV birth testing by offering HIV testing at birth only to infants at "high risk" of HIV transmission. There is limited evidence on the effectiveness of this approach. Our study assessed the sensitivity and specificity of birth testing "high risk" infants only.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study at 10 health facilities from November 2018 to July 2019. A nucleic acid test for HIV was performed on all HIV-exposed infants identified within 48 hours of life, irrespective of risk status. Univariate and bivariate analyses were used to estimate the performance of the risk screening tool.

Results: HIV nucleic acid test was successfully performed on 1970 infants (95%), of whom 266 (13.5%) were classified as high-risk infants. HIV prevalence for all infants tested was 1.5% (95% CI: 1% to 2%), whereas prevalence among high-risk infants and low-risk infants was 6.8% (95% CI: 3.7% to 9.8%) and 0.6% (95% CI: 0.3% to 1%) respectively. Sensitivity and specificity of the maternal risk screening tool was at 62.1% (95% CI: 44.4% to 79.7%) and 87.2% (95% CI: 85.7% to 88.7%), respectively; positive and negative predictive values were 6.8% (95% CI: 3.7% to 9.8%) and 99.4% (95% CI: 99.0% to 99.7%) respectively.

Conclusions: Despite high negative predictive value, sensitivity was relatively low, with potential of missing 2 in every 5 HIV infected infants. Given the potential benefits of early ART initiation for all exposed infants, where feasible, universal testing for HIV-exposed infants at birth may be preferred to reduce missing infected infants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002373DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302327PMC
July 2020

Impact of Routine Point-of-Care Versus Laboratory Testing for Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV: Results From a Multicountry Stepped-Wedge Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2020 07;84 Suppl 1:S5-S11

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Washington, DC.

Background: Although the World Health Organization recommends HIV-exposed infants receive a 6-week diagnostic test, few receive results by 12 weeks. Point-of-care (POC) early infant diagnosis (EID) may improve timely diagnosis and treatment. This study assesses the impact of routine POC versus laboratory-based EID on return of results by 12 weeks of age.

Methods: This was a cluster-randomized stepped-wedge trial in Kenya and Zimbabwe. In each country, 18 health facilities were randomly selected for inclusion and randomized to timing of POC implementation.

Findings: Nine thousand five hundred thirty-nine infants received tests: 5115 laboratory-based and 4424 POC. In Kenya and Zimbabwe, respectively, caregivers were 1.29 times [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.27 to 1.30, P < 0.001] and 4.56 times (95% CI: 4.50 to 4.60, P < 0.001) more likely to receive EID results by 12 weeks of age with POC versus laboratory-based EID. POC significantly reduced the time between sample collection and return of results to caregiver by an average of 23.03 days (95% CI: 4.85 to 21.21, P < 0.001) in Kenya and 62.37 days (95% CI: 58.94 to 65.80, P < 0.001) in Zimbabwe. For HIV-infected infants, POC significantly increased the percentage initiated on treatment, from 43.2% to 79.6% in Zimbabwe, and resulted in a nonsignificant increase in Kenya from 91.7% to 100%. The introduction of POC EID also significantly reduced the time to antiretroviral therapy initiation by an average of 17.01 days (95% CI: 9.38 to 24.64, P < 0.001) in Kenya and 56.00 days (95% CI: 25.13 to 153.76, P < 0.001) in Zimbabwe.

Conclusions: POC confers significant advantage on the proportion of caregivers receiving timely EID results, and improves time to results receipt and treatment initiation for infected infants. Where laboratory-based EID systems are unable to deliver results to caregivers rapidly, POC should be implemented as part of an integrated testing system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002383DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7302335PMC
July 2020

Survival and HIV-Free Survival Among Children Aged ≤3 Years - Eight Sub-Saharan African Countries, 2015-2017.

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020 May 15;69(19):582-586. Epub 2020 May 15.

Although mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is preventable through antiretroviral treatment (ART) during pregnancy and postpartum, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates that 160,000 new HIV infections occurred among children in 2018 (1). Child survival and HIV-free survival rates* are standard measures of progress toward eliminating MTCT (2). Nationally representative Population-based HIV Impact Assessment (PHIA) survey data, pooled from eight sub-Saharan African countries were used to calculate survival probability among children aged ≤3 years by maternal HIV status during pregnancy and HIV-free survival probability among children aged ≤3 years born to women with HIV infection, stratified by maternal ART** status during pregnancy. Survival probability was significantly lower among children born to women with HIV infection (94.7%) than among those born to women without HIV infection (97.6%). HIV-free survival probability of children born to women with HIV infection differed significantly by the timing of initiation of maternal ART: 93.0% among children whose mothers received ART before pregnancy, 87.8% among those whose mothers initiated ART during pregnancy, and 53.4% among children whose mothers did not receive ART during pregnancy. Focusing on prevention of HIV acquisition and, among women of reproductive age with HIV infection, on early diagnosis of HIV infection and ART initiation when applicable, especially before pregnancy, can improve child survival and HIV-free survival.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6919a3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7238953PMC
May 2020

Household flooring associated with reduced infant diarrhoeal illness in Zimbabwe in households with and without WASH interventions.

Trop Med Int Health 2020 05 10;25(5):635-643. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Objectives: Diarrhoeal illness is a leading cause of childhood morbidity and mortality and has long-term negative impacts on child development. Although flooring, water and sanitation have been identified as important routes of transmission of diarrhoeal pathogens, research examining variability in the association between flooring and diarrhoeal illness by water and sanitation is limited.

Methods: We utilised cross-sectional data collected for the evaluation of Zimbabwe's Prevention of Mother-to-Child HIV transmission programme in 2014 and 2017-18. Mothers of infants 9-18 months of age self-reported the household's source of drinking water and type of sanitation facility, as well as infant diarrhoeal illness in the four weeks prior to the survey. Household flooring was assessed using interviewer observation, and households in which the main material of flooring was dirt/earthen were classified as having unimproved flooring, and those with solid flooring (e.g. cement) were classified as having improved flooring.

Results: Mothers of infants living in households with improved flooring were less likely to report diarrhoeal illness in the last four weeks (PD  = -4.8%, 95% CI: -8.6, -1.0). The association between flooring and diarrhoeal illness did not vary by the presence of improved/unimproved water (p  = 0.91) or sanitation (p  = 0.76).

Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that household flooring is an important pathway for the transmission of diarrhoeal pathogens, even in settings where other aspects of sanitation are sub-optimal. Improvements to household flooring do not require behaviour change and may be an effective and expeditious strategy for reducing childhood diarrhoeal illness irrespective of household access to improved water and sanitation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tmi.13385DOI Listing
May 2020

Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV in Adolescents and Young Women: Findings From a National Prospective Cohort Survey, Zimbabwe, 2013-2014.

J Adolesc Health 2020 04 19;66(4):455-463. Epub 2020 Jan 19.

Division of Global HIV and TB, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Center for Global Health, Atlanta, Georgia. Electronic address:

Purpose: We assessed 18-month cumulative mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) risk and risk factors for no antiretroviral medication use during pregnancy among adolescent, young women, and adult mothers in Zimbabwe.

Methods: We analyzed data from a prospective survey of 1,171 mother-infant pairs with HIV-exposed infants aged 4-12 weeks who were recruited from 151 immunization clinics from February to August 2013. HIV-exposed infants were followed until diagnosed with HIV, death, or age 18 months. Findings were weighted and adjusted for complex survey design and nonresponse.

Results: The 18-month cumulative MTCT risk was highest among adolescent aged ≤19 years (12%) followed by young women aged 20-24 years (7.5%) and adult women aged ≥25 years (6.9%). Across these groups, more than 94% had ≥1 antenatal care visit by 21 weeks of gestation, more than 95% had ≥1 HIV test, and more than 98% knew their HIV status. Of known HIV-positive mothers, maternal antiretroviral medication coverage during pregnancy was 76.8% (95% confidence interval: 65.1-85.5), 83.8% (78.6-87.9), and 87.8% (84.6-90.4) among adolescent, young women, and adult mothers, respectively. Among HIV-positive mothers diagnosed prenatally, the adjusted odds ratio of no ARV use during pregnancy was increased among those who had no antenatal care attendance (adjusted odds ratio: 7.7 [3.7-16.0]), no HIV testing (7.3 [2.3-23.5]), no prepartum CD4 count testing (2.1 [1.3-3.4]), and maternal HIV identification during pregnancy (2.9 [1.8-4.8]). Age was not a risk factor.

Conclusions: With similar coverage of prevention of MTCT services, the 18-month cumulative MTCT risk was higher among adolescents and young women, compared with adults. Additional research should examine the causes to develop targeted interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2019.10.023DOI Listing
April 2020

Brief Report: Improving Early Infant Diagnosis Observations: Estimates of Timely HIV Testing and Mortality Among HIV-Exposed Infants.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2020 03;83(3):235-239

University of California, San Francisco, CA.

Background: Improving efforts toward elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV requires timely early infant diagnosis (EID) among all HIV-exposed infants, but the occurrence of timely EID and infant survival may be underascertained in routine, facility-bound program data.

Methods: From March 2015 to May 2015, we traced a random sample of HIV-positive mother and HIV-exposed infant pairs lost to follow-up for EID in facility registers in Zimbabwe. We incorporated updated information into weighted survival analyses to estimate incidence of EID and death. Reasons for no EID were surveyed from caregivers.

Results: Among 2651 HIV-positive women attending antenatal care, 1823 (68.8%) infants had no documented EID by 3 months of age. Among a random sample of 643 (35.3%) HIV-exposed infants lost to follow-up for EID, vital status was ascertained among 371 (57.7%) and updated care status obtained from 256 (39.8%) mothers traced. Among all HIV-infected mother-HIV-exposed infant pairs, weighted estimates found cumulative incidence of infant death by 90 days of 3.9% (95% confidence interval: 3.4% to 4.4%). Cumulative incidence of timely EID with death as a competing risk was 60%. The most frequently cited reasons for failure to uptake EID were "my child died" and "I didn't know I should have my child tested."

Conclusions: Our findings indicate uptake of timely EID among HIV-exposed infants is underestimated in routine health information systems. High, early mortality among HIV-exposed infants underscores the need to more effectively identify HIV-positive mother-HIV exposed infant pairs at high risk of adverse outcomes and loss to follow-up for enhanced interventions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000002263DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7012331PMC
March 2020

Viral load testing among women on 'option B+' in Mazowe, Zimbabwe: How well are we doing?

PLoS One 2019 3;14(12):e0225476. Epub 2019 Dec 3.

AIDS and TB Unit, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Background: Globally, ten percent of new HIV infections are among children and most of these children acquire infection through mother-to-child transmission. To prevent this, lifelong ART among pregnant and breast feeding (PBF) women living with HIV, irrespective of the WHO clinical stage, was adopted (option B+). There is limited cohort-wise assessment of VL testing among women on 'option B+'.

Objective: Among a pregnancy cohort on antiretroviral therapy in public hospitals and clinics of Mazowe district, Zimbabwe (2017), to determine the i) proportion undergoing VL testing anytime up to six months post child birth and associated factors; ii) turnaround time (TAT) from sending the specimen to results receipt and VL suppression among those undergoing VL testing.

Methods: This was a cohort study involving secondary programme data. Modified Poisson regression using robust variance estimates was used to determine the independent predictors of VL testing.

Results: Of 1112 women, 354 (31.8%, 95% CI: 29.2-34.6) underwent VL testing: 113 (31.9%) during pregnancy, 124 (35%) within six months of child birth and for 117 (33.1%), testing period was unknown. Of 354, VL suppression was seen in 334 (94.4%) and 13 out of 20 with VL non-suppression underwent repeat VL testing. Among those with available dates (125/354), the median TAT was 93 days (IQR 19.3-255). Of 1112, VL results were available between 32 weeks and child birth in 31 (2.8%) women. When compared to hospitals, women registered for antenatal care in clinics were 36% less likely to undergo VL testing [aRR: 0.64 (95% CI: 0.53, 0.76)].

Conclusion: Among women on option B+, the uptake of HIV VL testing was low with unacceptably long TAT. VL suppression among those tested was satisfactory. There is an urgent need to prioritize VL testing among PBF women and to consider use of point of care machines. There is a critical need to strengthen the recording and local utilisation of routine clinic data in order to successfully monitor progress of healthcare services provided.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0225476PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6890256PMC
April 2020

Common causes of EID sample rejection in Zimbabwe and how to mitigate them.

PLoS One 2019 8;14(8):e0210136. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Directorate of Laboratory Services, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Early infant diagnosis (EID) of HIV provides an opportunity for early HIV detection and access to appropriate Antiretroviral treatment (ART). Dried Blood Spot (DBS) samples are used for EID of exposed infants, born to HIV-positive mothers. However, DBS rejection rates in Zimbabwe have been exceeding the target of less than 2% per month set by the National Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL), in Harare. The aim of this study was to determine the DBS sample rejection rate, the reasons for rejection and the possible associations between rejection and level of health facility where the samples were collected. This is an analytical cross-sectional study using routine DBS sample data from the NMRL in Harare, Zimbabwe, between January and December 2017.A total of 34 950 DBS samples were received at the NMRL. Of these, 1291(4%) were rejected. Reasons for rejection were insufficient specimen volume (72%), missing request form (11%), missing sample (6%), cross-contamination (6%), mismatch of information (4%) and clotted sample (1%). Samples collected from clinics/rural health facilities were five times more likely to be rejected compared to those from a central hospital. Rejection rates were above the set target of <2%. The reasons for rejection were 'pre-analytical' errors including labelling errors, missing or inconsistent data, and insufficient blood collected. Samples collected at primary healthcare facilities had higher rejection rates.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0210136PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6687112PMC
April 2020

Identifying high or low risk of mother to child transmission of HIV: How Harare City, Zimbabwe is doing?

PLoS One 2019 13;14(3):e0212848. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

AIDS and TB Unit, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Government of Zimbabwe, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Background: Despite high antiretroviral (ARV) treatment coverage among pregnant women for prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Zimbabwe, the MTCT rate is still high. Therefore in 2016, the country adopted World Health Organization recommendations of stratifying pregnant women into "High" or"Low" MTCT risk for subsequent provision of HIV exposed infant (HEI) with appropriate follow-up care according to risk status.

Objective: The study sought to ascertain, among pregnant women who delivered in clinics of Harare in August 2017: the extent to which high risk MTCT pregnancies were identified at time of delivery; and whether their newborns were initiated on appropriate ARV prophylaxis, cotrimoxazole prophylaxis, subjected to early HIV diagnostic testing and initiated on ARV treatment.

Methods: Cross-sectional study using review of records of routinely collected program data.

Results: Of the 1,786 pregnant women who delivered in the selected clinics, HIV status at the time of delivery was known for 1,756 (98%) of whom 197 (11%) were HIV seropositive. Only 19 (10%) could be classified as "high risk" for MTCT and the remaining 90% lacked adequate information to classify them into high or low risk for MTCT due to missing data. Of the 197 live births, only two (1%) infants had a nucleic-acid test (NAT) at birth and 32 (16%) infants had NAT at 6 weeks. Of all 197 infants, 183 (93%) were initiated on single ARV prophylaxis (Nevirapine), 15 (7%) infants' ARV prophylaxis status was not documented and one infant got dual ARV prophylaxis (Nevirapine+Zidovudine).

Conclusion: There was paucity of data requisite for MTCT risk stratification due to poor recording of data; "high risk" women were missed in the few circumstances where sufficient data were available. Thus "high risk" HEI are deprived of dual ARV prophylaxis and priority HIV NAT at birth and onwards which they require for PMTCT. Health workers need urgent training, mentorship and supportive supervision to master data management and perform MTCT risk stratification satisfactorily.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0212848PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6415877PMC
November 2019

Protocol for the evaluation of the population-level impact of Zimbabwe's prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission program option B+: a community based serial cross-sectional study.

BMC Pregnancy Childbirth 2019 Jan 8;19(1):15. Epub 2019 Jan 8.

University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, USA.

Background: WHO recommends that HIV infected women receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) minimally during pregnancy and breastfeeding ("Option B"), or ideally throughout their lives regardless of clinical stage ("Option B+") (Coovadia et al., Lancet 379:221-228, 2012). Although these recommendations were based on clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of ART during pregnancy and breastfeeding, the population-level effectiveness of Option B+ is unknown, as are retention on ART beyond the immediate post-partum period, and the relative impact and cost-effectiveness of Option B+ compared to Option A (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 62:148-151, 2013; Ahmed et al., Curr Opin HIV AIDS 8:473-488, 2013). To address these issues, we conducted an impact evaluation of Zimbabwe's prevention of mother to child transmission programme conducted between 2011 and 2018 using serial, community-based cross-sectional serosurveys, which spanned changes in WHO recommendations. Here we describe the rationale for the design and analysis.

Methods/design: Our method is to survey mother-infant pairs residing in the catchment areas of 157 health facilities randomly selected from 5 of 10 provinces in Zimbabwe. We collect questionnaires, blood samples from mothers and babies for HIV antibody and viral load testing, and verbal autopsies for deceased mothers/babies. Using this approach, we collected data from two previous time points: 2012 (pre-Option A standard of care), 2014 (post-Option A / pre-Option B+) and will collect a third round of data in 2017-18 (post Option B+ implementation) to monitor population-level trends in mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) and HIV-free infant survival. In addition, we will collect detailed information on facility level factors that may influence service delivery and costs.

Discussion: Although the efficacy of antiretroviral therapy (ART) during pregnancy and breastfeeding for prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) has been well-documented in randomized trials, little evidence exists on the population-level impact and cost-effectiveness of Option B+ or the influence of the facility on implementation (Siegfried et al., Cochrane Libr 7:CD003510, 2017). This study will provide essential data on these gaps and will provide estimates on retention in care among Option B+ clients after the breastfeeding period.

Trial Registration: NCT03388398 Retrospectively registered January 3, 2018.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12884-018-2146-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6325877PMC
January 2019

Assessing the adoption of lopinavir/ritonavir oral pellets for HIV-positive children in Zimbabwe.

J Int AIDS Soc 2018 12;21(12):e25214

AIDS and TB Unit, The Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Introduction: Heat-stable lopinavir/ritonavir (LPV/r) oral pellets were developed to overcome challenges with administration and storage experienced with previously available tablet and syrup forms of LPV/r prescribed to paediatric HIV patients. We report on the adoption of LPV/r pellets for infants living with HIV in the public sector antiretroviral therapy (ART) programme in Zimbabwe.

Methods: Infants aged three months to three years who had been prescribed a LPV/r-based regimen (including ART-naïve patients) in fourteen facilities across the country were eligible to receive the pellets. Caregivers were counselled on the new formulation and provided with administration guides. A caregiver questionnaire was administered three to four months after the child initiated on pellets. Data were also extracted from patient ART records.

Results And Discussion: One hundred and fifty-seven children were enrolled (median age: 21 months; interquartile range 11.8 to 29.4). Survey data from 74 caregivers were included for analysis. Eighty-one per cent of the caregivers preferred pellets while 19% preferred the syrup formulation. Eighty-nine per cent assessed their child's response to taking the pellets as good or very good. Overall, 46% did not report any challenges while 54% reported one or more challenges with using the pellets. Difficulties with administration included: poor taste (36%; 26 participants); swallowing pellets (16%; 12 participants); finishing the dose (14%; 10 participants); and opening the capsule (10%; seven participants). Caregivers who were not confident to instruct others on pellet administration were 5.64 (95% confidence interval 1.45 to 21.95, p = 0.013) times as likely to experience a challenge.

Conclusions: A large proportion of caregivers preferred pellets to other formulations of LPV/r and reported a good response to pellets; however, they also reported challenges with administration. Counselling should focus on ensuring that caregivers can confidently administer pellets and are able to instruct others, to ensure high uptake and good adherence to treatment. LPV/r pellets may be an acceptable substitute for other available forms of LPV/r for eligible children under three years if they are currently on or in need of LPV/r-containing regimens; however, challenges with administration still highlight the need for improved drug formulations for paediatric ART patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jia2.25214DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6293134PMC
December 2018

Unintended pregnancy and subsequent postpartum long-acting reversible contraceptive use in Zimbabwe.

BMC Womens Health 2018 11 26;18(1):193. Epub 2018 Nov 26.

University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, Berkeley, USA.

Background: The postpartum period is an opportune time for contraception adoption, as women have extended interaction with the reproductive healthcare system and therefore more opportunity to learn about and adopt contraceptive methods. This may be especially true for women who experience unintended pregnancy, a key target population for contraceptive programs and programs to eliminate mother-to-child HIV transmission. Among women in Zimbabwe surveyed in 2014, we examined the relationship between pregnancy intention associated with a woman's most recent pregnancy, and her subsequent postpartum contraceptive use.

Methods: In our analysis we utilized a dataset from a random selection of catchment areas in Zimbabwe to examine the association between pregnancy intention of most recent pregnancy and subsequent postpartum contraceptive use using multinomial logistic regression models. We also explored whether this association differed by women's HIV status. Finally, we examined the association between pregnancy intention and changes in contraception from the pre- to postpartum periods.

Results: Findings suggest that women who reported that their pregnancy was unintended adopted less modern (all non-traditional) contraceptive methods overall, but adopted long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) more frequently than women reporting an intended pregnancy (OR 1.41; CI 1.18, 1.68). Among HIV-positive women, this relationship was particularly strong (OR 3.12; CI 1.96, 4.97). However, when examining changes in contraceptive use from the pre-pregnancy to the postpartum period, women who had an unintended pregnancy had lower odds of changing to a more effective method postpartum overall (OR 0.71; CI 0.64, 0.79).

Conclusions: We did not find evidence of higher modern method adoption in the postpartum period among women with an unintended pregnancy. However, women who were already on a method in the pre-pregnancy period were catalyzed to move to more effective methods (such as LARC) postpartum. This study provides evidence of low modern (non-traditional) method adoption in general in the postpartum period among a vulnerable sub-population in Zimbabwe (women who experience unintended pregnancy). Simultaneously, however, it shows a relatively greater portion specifically of LARC use among women with an unintended pregnancy. Further research is needed to more closely examine the motivations behind these contraceptive decisions in order to better inform distribution and counseling programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12905-018-0668-zDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6258256PMC
November 2018

Making Implementation Science Work for Children and Adolescents Living With HIV.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2018 08;78 Suppl 1:S58-S62

Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health Department, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.

The global HIV response is leaving children and adolescents behind. Because of a paucity of studies on treatment and care models for these age groups, there are gaps in our understanding of how best to implement services to improve their health outcomes. Without this evidence, policymakers are left to extrapolate from adult studies, which may not be appropriate, and can lead to inefficiencies in service delivery, hampered uptake, and ineffective mechanisms to support optimal outcomes. Implementation science research seeks to investigate how interventions known to be efficacious in study settings are, or are not, routinely implemented within real-world programmes. Effective implementation science research must be a collaborative effort between government, funding agencies, investigators, and implementers, each playing a key role. Successful implementation science research in children and adolescents requires clearer policies about age of consent for services and research that conform to ethical standards but allow for rational modifications. Implementation research in these age groups also necessitates age-appropriate consultation and engagement of children, adolescents, and their caregivers. Finally, resource, systems, technology, and training must be prioritized to improve the availability and quality of age-/sex-disaggregated data. Implementation science has a clear role to play in facilitating understanding of how the multiple complex barriers to HIV services for children and adolescents prevent effective interventions from reaching more children and adolescents living with HIV, and is well positioned to redress gaps in the HIV response for these age groups. This is truer now more than ever, with urgent and ambitious 2020 global targets on the horizon and insufficient progress in these age groups to date.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001750DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6044463PMC
August 2018

Zvandiri-Bringing a Differentiated Service Delivery Program to Scale for Children, Adolescents, and Young People in Zimbabwe.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2018 08;78 Suppl 2:S115-S123

Centre for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research (CeSSHAR), Harare, Zimbabwe.

Since 2004, there has been a dramatic shift in the HIV response for children, adolescents, and young people in low resource settings. Previous programs and services were largely orientated to adults. This is now changing, but there is limited evidence on how to take services for children, adolescents, and young people living with HIV (CAYPLHIV) to scale. Zvandiri is a theoretically grounded, multicomponent-differentiated service delivery model for children, adolescents, and young people in Zimbabwe that integrates peer-led, community interventions within government health services. Africaid analyzed routine program and other data from November 2004 to October 2017 to document Zvandiri scale-up, framed by the World Health Organization framework for scaling up interventions. Since 2004, Zvandiri has evolved from one support group in Harare into a comprehensive model, combining community- and clinic-based health services and psychosocial support for CAYPLHIV. Zvandiri was scaled up across Zimbabwe through phased expansion into 51 of 63 districts, reaching 40,213 CAYPLHIV. Evidence indicates that this approach improved uptake of HIV testing services, adherence, and retention in care. The environment and strategic choices were critical when taking the model to scale, particularly nesting the program within existing services, and capacity strengthening of service providers working jointly with trained, mentored CAYPLHIV. The results provide a firm foundation for programming and from which to build evidence of sustainable impact. Formal impact evaluation is needed and underway. These program data contribute to the essential evidence base on strategic approaches to assist in planning services for this relatively neglected group.
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August 2018

Impact of Timing of Antiretroviral Treatment and Birth Weight on Mother-to-Child Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission: Findings From an 18-Month Prospective Cohort of a Nationally Representative Sample of Mother-Infant Pairs During the Transition From Option A to Option B+ in Zimbabwe.

Clin Infect Dis 2018 02;66(4):576-585

Center for Global Health, Division of Global HIV and Tuberculosis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Background: Preventing mother-to-child transmission of human immunodeficiency virus transmission (MTCT) depends on early initiation of antiretroviral therapy (ART). We report the 18-month MTCT risk during the transition from Option A to Option B+ in Zimbabwe, and assess whether ART preconception could eliminate MTCT in breastfeeding populations.

Methods: In 2013, we consecutively recruited a nationally representative sample of 6051 infants aged 4-12 weeks and their mothers from 151 immunization clinics using a multistage stratified cluster sampling method. We identified 1172 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-exposed infants and evaluated them at baseline and every 3 months until the child became HIV-infected, died, or reached age 18 months.

Results: The cumulative MTCT risk through 18 months postdelivery was 7.0%. Of the HIV-infected mothers, 35.3% started ART preconception, 28.9% during pregnancy, and 9.7% after delivery, and 16.0% received zidovudine during pregnancy. Compared to mothers without antiretroviral drug use, MTCT among those starting ART preconception and during pregnancy was lower by 88% (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], .06-.24) and 75% (aHR, 0.25; 95% CI, .14-.45), respectively. HIV-exposed infants with birth weight <2.5 kg (low birth weight) were 2.6-fold more likely to acquire HIV infection compared to those with birth weight ≥2.5 kg (aHR, 2.57; 95% CI, 1.44-4.59). Controlling for other factors, breastfeeding was not significantly associated with MTCT.

Conclusions: ART preconception has the highest impact on reducing MTCT, indicating that HIV-infected, reproductive-age women should be prioritized in "treat-all" strategies. HIV-infected mothers without ART use should be identified at the first immunization visit and treatment initiated to reduce postdelivery MTCT. MTCT risk is higher in mothers with low-birth-weight deliveries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cid/cix820DOI Listing
February 2018

Scaling up Pediatric HIV Testing by Incorporating Provider-Initiated HIV Testing Into all Child Health Services in Hurungwe District, Zimbabwe.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2018 01;77(1):78-85

Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Washington, DC.

Background: Practical ways are needed to scale-up pediatric HIV testing in sub-Saharan Africa, where testing is usually limited to HIV-exposed children in maternal and child health clinics.

Methods: We implemented an enhanced pediatric HIV testing program in 33 health facilities in Zimbabwe by integrating HIV testing into all pediatric health services. We collected individual data on children tested by having health care workers complete a program-specific child health booklet. We compared numbers of children tested before and during the program using routinely collected aggregate program data reported by health facilities.

Results: A total of 12,556 children aged 0-5 years were recorded in child health booklets; 9431 (75.1%) had information on HIV testing, of whom 7326 (77.7%) were tested; 7167 had test results of whom 122 (1.7%) were HIV-infected. Among children seen in outpatient clinics, 82.1% were tested compared with 66.5% tested among children seen in maternal/child health clinics. Of the 122 HIV-infected children identified, 77 (63.1%) could be missed under existing pediatric testing guidelines. The number of HIV-infected children identified during the 6-month program increased by 55% compared with the prior 6-month period (RR = 1.55, 95% CI: 1.22 to 1.96). Factors independently associated with HIV infection included being malnourished (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 7.7, 95% CI: 2.1 to 28.6), being exposed to TB (AOR = 8.1, 95% CI: 2.0 to 32.2), and having an HIV-infected mother (AOR = 41.6, 95% CI: 15.9 to 108.8).

Conclusions: Integrating HIV testing into all pediatric health services is feasible and can assist in identifying HIV-infected children who could be missed in current testing guidelines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001564DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5720897PMC
January 2018

Building Health System Capacity Through Implementation Research: Experience of INSPIRE-A Multi-country PMTCT Implementation Research Project.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2017 06;75 Suppl 2:S240-S247

*World Health Organization, Intercountry Support Team, Family and Reproductive Health Cluster, Harare, Zimbabwe; †World Health Organization, Department of HIV and Global Hepatitis Programme, Geneva, Switzerland; ‡World Health Organization, Zimbabwe Country Office, Harare, Zimbabwe; §World Health Organization, Nigeria Country Office, Abuja, Nigeria; ‖World Health Organization, Malawi Country Office, Lilongwe, Malawi; ¶World Health Organization, Africa Regional Office, Family and Reproductive Health, Brazzaville, Congo; #National AIDS and STIs Control Programme (NASCP), Department of Public Health, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria; **Ministry of Health, HIV and AIDS Department, Lilongwe, Malawi; and ††Ministry of Health and Child Care, AIDS and TB Unit, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Background: The INSPIRE-Integrating and Scaling Up PMTCT through Implementation REsearch-initiative was established as a model partnership of national prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) implementation research in 3 high HIV burden countries-Malawi, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe. INSPIRE aimed to link local research groups with Ministries of Health (MOH), build local research capacity, and demonstrate that implementation research may contribute to improving health care delivery and respond to program challenges.

Methodology: We used a mixed methods approach to review capacity building activities, as experienced by health care workers, researchers, and trainers conducted in the 6 INSPIRE projects before and during study implementation.

Results: Between 2011 and 2016, over 3400 health care workers, research team members, and community members participated in INSPIRE activities. This included research prioritization exercises, proposal development, good clinical practice and research ethics training, data management and analysis workshops, and manuscript development. Health care workers in clinics and district health offices acknowledged the value of hosting implementation research projects and how the quality of services improved. Research teams acknowledged the opportunities that projects provided for personal development and the value of participating in a multicountry research network.

Discussion: INSPIRE provided an opportunity for African-led research in which researchers worked closely with national MOH to identify priority research questions and implement studies. Close partnerships between research teams and local implementers facilitated project responsiveness to local program issues. Consequently, processes and training needed for study implementation also improved local program management and service delivery. Additional benefits included improved data management, publications, and career development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001370DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5432100PMC
June 2017

Impact of Point-of-Care CD4 Testing on Retention in Care Among HIV-Positive Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women in the Context of Option B+ in Zimbabwe: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2017 06;75 Suppl 2:S190-S197

*Clinton Health Access Initiative, Boston, MA; †Clinton Health Access Initiative, Harare, Zimbabwe; and ‡Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe.

Introduction: Scale-up of Option B+ in Zimbabwe has increased antiretroviral therapy (ART) coverage but patient loss-to-follow-up remains high; thus, effective strategies to improve retention in care are needed. Evidence for Elimination, a cluster randomized controlled trial, evaluated the impact of point-of-care (POC) CD4 testing with CD4 count-specific adherence counseling on rates of retention among 1150 HIV-positive pregnant women initiating ART in Zimbabwe.

Methods: Thirty-two primary care health facilities were randomized to offer either standard-of-care (SOC) or POC CD4 testing plus CD4-specific counseling to clients (POC Plus). The primary outcome was the proportion of HIV-positive pregnant women retained on ART after 12 months, calculated by cluster-adjusted proportions, unadjusted and adjusted relative risks (RR and aRR, respectively).

Results: Retention in care 12 months after initiation was 50.7% and 54.5% in the POC Plus and SOC arms, respectively (RR 0.93, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.78 to 1.11; aRR 0.91, 95% CI: 0.77 to 1.07). Although considered not retained, 9.7% transferred to another facility and 0.2% died. Most women, 95.3% in POC Plus and 92.9% in SOC, initiated ART within 1 month of antenatal booking (RR 1.03, 95% CI: 0.97 to 1.08).

Discussion: Although patient retention was similar in both arms, women in the POC Plus arm were more likely to have received a CD4 test at booking and a repeat CD4 test later in care. CD4 is no longer required for treatment initiation but is still recommended in national guidelines and is of value in clinical management. Further work is needed to identify effective strategies to increase patient retention in ART care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001341DOI Listing
June 2017

Crossing the Finish Line.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2017 05;75 Suppl 1:S106-S107

*University of California San Francisco; †ICAP, Mailman School of Public Health, and College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY; ‡Desmond Tutu HIV Centre at the Institute of Infectious Disease and Molecular Medicine, the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation, University of Cape Town; and §Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Zimbabwe.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001315DOI Listing
May 2017

Integrating PMTCT Into Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health and Related Services: Experiences From the Global Plan Priority Countries.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2017 May;75 Suppl 1:S36-S42

*UNAIDS, Joint United Nations Program on HIV and AIDS, the Office of Global Fund and Global Plan Affairs, UNAIDS, Geneva, Switzerland; †Population and Family Health, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY; ‡United Nations Population Fund, New York, NY; and §AIDS and TB Unit, Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Harare, Zimbabwe.

The urgency to scale-up sustainable programs for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) prompted priority countries of the Global Plan Toward the Elimination of New HIV Infections Among Children by 2015 and Keeping Their Mothers Alive (Global Plan) to expand the delivery of PMTCT services through greater integration with sexual and reproductive health and child health services. Countries approached integration-what, where, and how services are provided-in diverse ways, with predominantly favorable results. Approaches to integrated services have increased access to a broader range of PMTCT interventions, and they also have proved to be largely acceptable to clients and providers. The integration of PMTCT interventions with maternal, newborn, and child health settings was supported by strategies to reconfigure service delivery to provide additional services, including shifting tasks to nurses (such as initiating antiretroviral therapy and providing long-term follow-up). This was complemented by supporting community outreach and integrating HIV and sexual and reproductive health services bidirectionally, including by providing family planning through antiretroviral therapy clinics and HIV testing in family planning clinics. A systematic and rigorous study of country experiences integrating HIV and maternal, newborn, and child health services, including maternal and pediatric TB services, cost analysis, could provide valuable lessons and demonstrate how such integration can improve systems for health care delivery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001323DOI Listing
May 2017

PMTCT Service Uptake Among Adolescents and Adult Women Attending Antenatal Care in Selected Health Facilities in Zimbabwe.

J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2017 06;75(2):148-155

*Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Harare, Zimbabwe; †Research Department, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Washington, DC; ‡AIDS and TB Unit, Zimbabwe Ministry of Health and Child Care, Harare, Zimbabwe; and §Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Background: Age-disaggregated analyses of prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) program data to assess the uptake of HIV services by pregnant adolescent women are limited but are critical to understanding the unique needs of this vulnerable high-risk population.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of patient-level PMTCT data collected from 2011 to 2013 in 36 health facilities in 5 districts of Zimbabwe using an electronic database. We compared uptake proportions for PMTCT services between adolescent (≤19 years) and adult (>19 years) women. Multivariable binomial regression analysis was used to estimate the association of the women's age group with each PMTCT service indicator.

Results: The study analyzed data from 22,215 women aged 12-50 years (22.5% adolescents). Adolescents were more likely to present to antenatal care (ANC) before 14 weeks of gestational age compared with older women [adjusted relative risk (aRR) = 1.34; 95% confidence interval: 1.22 to 1.47] with equally low rates of completion of 4 ANC visits. Adolescents were less likely to present with known HIV status (aRR = 0.34; 95% confidence interval: 0.29 to 0.41) but equally likely to be HIV tested in ANC. HIV prevalence was 5.5% in adolescents vs 20.1% in adults. While >84% of both HIV-positive groups received antiretroviral drugs for PMTCT, 44% of eligible adolescents were initiated on antiretroviral therapy vs 51.3% of eligible adults, though not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Pregnant adolescents must be a priority for primary HIV prevention services and expanded HIV treatment services among pregnant women to achieve an AIDS-free generation in Zimbabwe and similar high HIV burden countries.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAI.0000000000001327DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5427987PMC
June 2017

Targeting elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission efforts using geospatial analysis of mother-to-child HIV transmission in Zimbabwe.

AIDS 2016 07;30(11):1829-37

aDivision of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, California, USA bMinistry of Health and Child Welfare cElizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation dCentre for Sexual Health and HIV Research, Harare, Zimbabwe eUniversity College London, London, UK.

Background: We assessed Zimbabwe's progress toward elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) under Option A.

Methods: We analyzed 2012 and 2014 cross-sectional serosurvey data from mother-infant pairs residing in the same 157 health facility catchment areas randomly sampled from five provinces. Eligible women were at least 16 years and mothers/caregivers of infants born 9-18 months prior. We aggregated individual-level questionnaire and HIV serostatus within catchment areas or district to estimate MTCT and the number of HIV-infected infants; these data were mapped using facility global positioning system coordinates.

Results: A weighted population of 8800 and 10 404 mother-infant pairs was included from 2012 and 2014, respectively. In 2014, MTCT among HIV-exposed infants was 6.7% (95% confidence interval: 5.2, 8.6), not significantly different from 2012 (8.8%, 95% confidence interval: 6.9, 11.1, P = 0.13). From 2012 to 2014, self-reported antiretroviral therapy or prophylaxis among HIV-infected women increased from 59 to 65% (P = 0.05), as did self-reported infant antiretroviral prophylaxis (63 vs. 67%, P = 0.08). In 2014, 65 (41%), 55 (35%), and 37 (24%) catchment areas had the same, lower, and higher MTCT rate as in 2012, respectively. MTCT in 2014 varied by catchment areas (median = 0%, mean = 4.9%, interquartile range = 0-10%) as did the estimated number of HIV-infected infants (median = 0, mean = 1.1, interquartile range = 0-1.0). Also in 2014, 106 (68%) catchment areas had MTCT = 0%. Geovisualization revealed clustering of catchment areas where both MTCT and the estimated number of HIV-infected infants were relatively high.

Conclusion: Although MTCT is declining in Zimbabwe, geospatial analysis indicates facility-level variability. Catchment areas with high MTCT rates and a high burden of HIV-infected infants should be the highest priority for service intensification.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000001127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4925255PMC
July 2016

Option A improved HIV-free infant survival and mother to child HIV transmission at 9-18 months in Zimbabwe.

AIDS 2016 06;30(10):1655-62

aSchool of Public Health, University of California, BerkeleybSchool of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, California, USAcCentre for Sexual Health and HIV/AIDS Research ZimbabwedMinistry of Health and Child CareeUniversity of ZimbabwefElizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS FoundationgOffice of Research and Outreach Programmes, Africa University, ZimbabwehChildren's Investment Fund FoundationiResearch Department of Infection and Population Health, University College London, London, UK.

Objective: We evaluated the impact of Option A on HIV-free infant survival and mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) in Zimbabwe.

Design: Serial cross-sectional community-based serosurveys.

Methods: We analyzed serosurvey data collected in 2012 and 2014 among mother-infant pairs from catchment areas of 132 health facilities from five of 10 provinces in Zimbabwe. Eligible infants (alive or deceased) were born 9-18 months before each survey to mothers at least 16 years old. We randomly selected mother-infant pairs and conducted questionnaires, verbal autopsies, and collected blood samples. We estimated the HIV-free infant survival and MTCT rate within each catchment area and compared the 2012 and 2014 estimates using a paired t test and number of HIV infections averted because of the intervention.

Results: We analyzed 7249 mother-infant pairs with viable maternal specimens collected in 2012 and 8551 in 2014. The mean difference in the catchment area level MTCT between 2014 and 2012 was -5.2 percentage points (95% confidence interval = -8.1, -2.3, P < 0.001). The mean difference in the catchment area level HIV-free survival was 5.5 percentage points (95% confidence interval = 2.6, 8.5, P < 0.001). Between 2012 and 2014, 1779 infant infections were averted compared with the pre-Option A regimen. The association between HIV-free infant survival and duration of Option A implementation was NS at the multivariate level (P = 0.093).

Conclusion: We found a substantial and statistically significant increase in HIV-free survival and decrease in MTCT among infants aged 9-18 months following Option A rollout in Zimbabwe. This is the only evaluation of Option A and shows the effectiveness of Option A and Zimbabwe's remarkable progress toward eMTCT.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/QAD.0000000000001111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4889511PMC
June 2016
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