Health Care Workers' Suggestions for Improving HIV-Related Maternal Care in South Africa: “Listen to Us”

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South Africa has the highest rate of individuals infected with HIV in the world. Women in particular are at increased risk for HIV infection and typically receive care from nurses and midwives who are on the front lines of health care policy and program implementation. The primary objective of this study was to compile and analyze suggestions generated by health care professionals on how to improve HIV-related maternal care in South Africa. This information can then be used to inform the direction of future programs across the country and beyond.


Two hundred forty-nine nurses, midwives, and nursing students enrolled in a South African university completed surveys as part of this qualitative cross-sectional study. Responses were transcribed and coded by independent researchers who met frequently to discuss and come to consensus on emerging themes.


Four primary strategies to improve HIV-related maternal care emerged from the data. These women's health professionals suggested improving education, increasing grassroots-level participation by government officials, improving resources, and developing strategies aimed at decreasing the risk of secondary transmission of HIV.


Nurses and midwives are frontline health care professionals who are in unique positions to offer feedback on how HIV-related maternal care can be improved. The identified strategies should be integrated into future programs, and human rights implications must be examined.

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