Teasdale CA, Geller A, Shongwe S, Mafukidze A, Choy M, Magaula B, Yuengling K, King K, De Gusmao EP, Ryan C, Ao T, Callahan T, Modi S, Abrams EJ. PLoS One. 2021 Mar 24;16(3):e0248685. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0248685. PMID: 33760864.
Background: Uptake and retention in antenatal care (ANC) is critical for preventing adverse pregnancy outcomes for both mothers and infants.
Methods: We implemented a rapid quality improvement project to improve ANC retention at seven health facilities in Eswatini (October-December 2017). All pregnant women attending ANC visits were eligible to participate in anonymous tablet-based audio assisted computer self-interview (ACASI) surveys. The 24-question survey asked about women’s interactions with health facility staff (HFS) (nurses, mentor mothers, receptionists and lab workers) with a three-level symbolic response options (agree/happy, neutral, disagree/sad). Women were asked to self-report HIV status. Survey results were shared with HFS at monthly quality improvement sessions. Chi-square tests were used to assess differences in responses between months one and three, and between HIV-positive and negative women. Routine medical record data were used to compare retention among pregnant women newly enrolled in ANC two periods, January-February 2017 (‘pre-period’) and January-February 2018 (‘post-period’) at two of the participating health facilities. Proportions of women retained at 3 and 6 months were compared using Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel and Wilcoxon tests.
Results: A total of 1,483 surveys were completed by pregnant women attending ANC, of whom 508 (34.3%) self-reported to be HIV-positive. The only significant change in responses from month one to three was whether nurses listened with agreement increasing from 88.3% to 94.8% (p<0.01). Overall, WLHIV had significantly higher proportions of reported satisfaction with HFS interactions compared to HIV-negative women. A total of 680 pregnant women were included in the retention analysis; 454 (66.8%) HIV-negative and 226 (33.2%) WLHIV. In the pre- and post-periods, 59.4% and 64.6%, respectively, attended at least four ANC visits (p = 0.16). The proportion of women retained at six months increased from 60.9% in the pre-period to 72.7% in the post-period (p = 0.03). For HIV-negative women, pre- and post-period six-month retention significantly increased from 56.6% to 71.6% (p = 0.02); however, the increase in WLHIV retained at six months from 70.7% (pre-period) to 75.0% (post-period) was not statistically significant (p = 0.64).
Conclusion: The type of rapid quality improvement intervention we implemented may be useful in improving patient-provider relationships although whether it can improve retention remains unclear.