What effect does SRH HIV integration have on postnatal care?

Integrating SRH and HIV services has many benefits. New research suggests integration can also have a positive impact on postnatal care by improving the quality of client-provider consultation sessions.

Reproductive HIV Postnatal care Step 5

In sub-Saharan Africa, many recently pregnant women want to delay or avoid another pregnancy, but are not using a modern contraceptive method. The postnatal needs of women are often neglected as an area of care, but services are essential for the health of both women and infants.

A new study from the Integra Initiative provides evidence on the quality of postnatal care after facility-level integration of HIV and postnatal services in Kenya and Swaziland. The postnatal model of integration encompassed the full constellation of services for both mother and baby during the first few days and weeks after delivery, including mother and baby physical check, counsel on breastfeeding, family planning, contraception, immunisations, and HIV services.

The study found that integration of HIV into PNC services can improve the quality of client-provider consultation sessions. Overall, quality of care is not negatively affected by integrating HIV and postnatal care, and integration seems to have a positive effect on quality of postnatal care in both countries.

Providers also reported that integration was beneficial to themselves and service delivery. That is, integration can have a positive motivating effect on staff and can lead to better sharing of workload. These are important opportunities that deserve to be built on.

Overall, quality of care is complex. While some of the elements may be determined by the provider, many others are determined by public health policy beyond the facility. Learn more about the findings from this and other studies at the Integration Initiatives Open Access Research library.