Perceptions and experiences of pregnant women towards voluntary antenatal counselling and testing in Oshakati hospital, Namibia

Aini-Kaarin Toivo, Mickey Chopra, Daniel Opotamutale Ashipala


Background: The study focused on perceptions and experiences of pregnant women who opted in against those who opted out of voluntary antenatal HIV counseling and testing.

Purpose: The purpose of the study was to assess pregnant women’s perceptions and experiences in order to gain insight into their views towards voluntary antenatal counseling and testing.

Method: A qualitative, descriptive and comparative study was used regarding participants who opted in and opted out. A stratified random sampling was used to collect data from the participants. The study sample comprised six focus group discussions (FGD) of pregnant women who were attending antenatal services at this hospital. Three FGD were women who opted in and other three FGD were for those who opted out. The semi-structure interview guide was used to guide the discussions. The discussions were audio recorded, transcribed and analyzed, using thematic content analysis.

Results: Based on the findings of the study, the knowledge of pregnant women who opted in was relatively good comparing with those who opted out. Despite the recognition of the benefits of Voluntary antenatal Counselling and Testing (VCT), it was evident that women were reluctant to use the VCT service because of reasons that include fear of being stigmatized, abandoned and discriminated against. The women’s participation in the existing services of voluntary antenatal counseling and testing was influenced by their partners. It was also found that there were misconceptions surrounding the knowledge of the causes and prevention of vertical transmission. These misconceptions should be talked about. The distance was another factor which hampered the participation of pregnant women in the programme. Other reasons for non-attendance given by the participants included dissatisfaction with some of the nurses’ attitudes, ignorance about the service as well as reluctance to be tested.

Recommendations: This study recommends improved partner communication on the issues of HIV/AIDS as it will encourage sharing of confidentiality and responsibility.

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International Journal of Healthcare  ISSN 2377-7338(Print)  ISSN 2377-7346(Online)

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