One of the most pressing challenges for health programs in most sub-Saharan African countries is effectively addressing the increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS. Recent evidence suggests that controlling sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) through undertaking preventive measures, early diagnosis, and treatment significantly slows the spread of HIV/AIDS. In regard to STI/HIV, Maternal and Child Health (MCH) and Family Planning (FP) clients are described as “low risk” groups. However, in a number of sub-Saharan African countries, the reported levels of STDs are significantly high enough to justify use of limited resources to target this group for STD services. MCH/FP programs have begun to get more involved in prevention of STDs/HIV among MCH and FP clients through providing integrated programs and integrated services. This move toward integration is gaining momentum, however it presents immense challenges for reproductive health (RH) programs in the region. The issue of the best cost-effective strategy to provide quality integrated MCH/FP/STD/HIV services in the context of scarce financial, laboratory, and technical resources is still unsettled, according to this report, including the technical challenge of altering existing MCH/FP services to simultaneously meet contraceptive and disease-control goals.
Mbekem, Grace and Jane Chege. 1998. "Dual protection in an integrated community-based program: A case study of Tanzania Family Health/Ministry of Health Project in Mbeya." Kenya: TFHP and Population Council.
Africa OR/TA Project II