Patterns of attendance among HIV exposed infants enrolled in care in central Uganda
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This study aimed at examining patterns of attendance among HIV-exposed infants enrolled in care in central Uganda. The objectives were: To describe patterns of attendance among HIV exposed infants, establish factors influencing retention into care among HIV exposed infants and identify possible strategies to reduce lost to follow up among HIV exposed infants. A cross- sectional research design with a mix of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods was used and sampled medical records of HIV-exposed infants enrolled in care at Baylor Uganda site was analyzed using SPSS computer software Version 20.0. This was backed up by information got from key informants and in-depth interviews. The findings revealed that out of the 113 sampled HIV-exposed infants enrolled in care, the largest percentage 69.91 %( n=79) had a clinic follow up to a maximum of four months. Most of the factors that were assessed did not significantly affect loss to follow up of participants. However, a significant positive relationship (P=0.043) between household income and the length of time taken during follow up of the participants is noted. For this to be addressed, it was suggested that both the caretaker and the infant should access care and treatment from the same place to ease transport and have good follow-up of clinic appointments. The study, therefore, concluded that the observed LTFU of more than 50% of infants was associated with access to different service providers for the caretaker and the infant as a system problem and mothers’ daily struggles related to poverty which prevented them from accessing the clinic due to lack of transport. Establishing one-point service provider for both adults and children and Economic empowerment of mothers(women) would be crucial in achieving better follow-up rates since most of the caretakers of these infants are mothers 86.73%(n=98) or females 95.58% (n=108) as reflected in this study.