Reproductive tract infections (RTIs) are common in Zimbabwe. Many RTIs increase the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. In 1998, the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) conducted an operations research study to assess the feasibility of adding RTI diagnosis and treatment to its menu of services. The study population consisted of 1,634 clients at three ZNFPC clinics. Each client was asked about lower abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, and other RTI symptoms; examined for clinical signs of RTIs; and given laboratory tests to confirm the accuracy of diagnosis based upon symptoms and signs. Findings detailed in this brief were that existing methods for screening RTIs among family planning clients are not cost-effective, laboratory tests are too costly, and syndromic case management often leads to missed infections and unnecessary treatment. Health programs should continue to emphasize preventive measures—changing individual behavior and promoting condom use.
"Zimbabwe: RTI screening methods for women are not cost-effective," FRONTIERS OR Summary. Washington, DC: Population Council, 1999.
Frontiers in Reproductive Health