Paediatric HIV management at primary care level: An evaluation of the integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) guidelines for HIV
Centre for Rural Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Umbilo Road, Durban 4013, South Africa; Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Umbilo Road, Durban 4013, South Africa; Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development, World Health Organization, 20 Avenue Appia 1211, Geneva 27, Switzerland
Background: Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) is a WHO/UNICEF strategy to improve child survival in resource poor settings. South Africa adopted IMCI in 1997, and IMCI guidelines were adapted to include identification and management of HIV infected and exposed children. This study describes the validity of the IMCI/HIV algorithm when used by IMCI experts, the use of IMCI/HIV guidelines by IMCI trained health workers in routine clinical practice, and the burden of HIV among children under 5 years attending first level health facilities. Methods: Seventy seven randomly selected IMCI trained health workers were observed in 74 health facilities in two provinces of South Africa. Consultations were observed with 1357 sick children; each child was reassessed by an IMCI expert to confirm the correct findings. Consent was requested for HIV testing of all children who attended with a parent or legal guardian. Positive rapid HIV tests were confirmed with HIV PCR in children aged less than 18 months. HIV positive children had a CD4 count and HIV clinical staging done. Results: Of 1064 children with HIV results available, 76 (7.1% CI: 5.7% - 8.9%) children were confirmed HIV positive. IMCI experts using the HIV algorithm classified 54/76 (71.1% CI: 59.5%-80.9%) HIV positive children as suspected symptomatic HIV, and 15/22 remaining HIV positive children were identified as HIV exposed. Therefore, 69/76 (90.8% CI: 81.9-96.2) HIV infected children were identified by IMCI experts. No classification was made for HIV by observed health workers in 899/1357(66.2%) children. Conclusion: 906/1243(72.9%) mothers had been tested previously for HIV, of whom 221(24.4%) reported testing positive. Of 221 children therefore identified as HIV exposed, only 78(35.3%) had been tested for HIV within routine services. The HIV algorithm is a valid tool for identifying HIV infected and exposed children when correctly and comprehensively implemented. However, it is not being used by IMCI trained health workers in routine practise, leading to a failure to implement life saving interventions. © 2009 Horwood et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
antiretrovirus agent; cotrimoxazole; nevirapine; article; CD4 lymphocyte count; child; child health care; clinical protocol; continuing education; health care personnel; human; Human immunodeficiency virus infection; Human immunodeficiency virus prevalence; major clinical study; polymerase chain reaction; practice guideline; preschool child; primary medical care; South Africa; Algorithms; Child, Preschool; Delivery of Health Care, Integrated; HIV; HIV Infections; Humans; Incidence; Infant; Outcome Assessment (Health Care); Practice Guidelines as Topic; Primary Health Care; Retrospective Studies; South Africa; Survival Rate