Objective: To explore the impact of HIV/AIDS on maternity care providers in labor and delivery in a high HIV-prevalence setting in sub-Saharan Africa.
Design: Qualitative one-on-one in-depth interviews with maternity care providers.
Setting: Four health facilities providing labor and delivery services (2 public hospitals, a public health center, and a small private maternity hospital) in Kisumu, Nyanza Province, Kenya.
Participants: Eighteen maternity care providers, including 14 nurse/midwives, 2 physician assistants, and 2 physicians (ob/gyn specialists).
Results: The HIV/AIDS epidemic has had numerous adverse effects and a few positive effects on maternity care providers in this setting. Adverse effects include reductions in the number of health care providers, increased workload, burnout, reduced availability of services in small health facilities when workers are absent due to attending HIV/AIDS training programs, difficulties with confidentiality and unwanted disclosure, and maternity care providers' fears of becoming HIV infected and the resulting stigma and discrimination. Positive effects include improved infection control procedures on maternity wards and enhanced maternity care provider knowledge and skills.
Conclusion: A multifaceted package including policy, infrastructure, and training interventions is needed to support maternity care providers in these settings and ensure that they are able to perform their critical roles in maternal healthcare and prevention of HIV/AIDS transmission.