Background: Nigeria has the highest burden of paediatric HIV infection, and the success of control efforts in the country is crucial to the global control of the HIV epidemic. However, defaults from schedules of care pose a threat to paediatric HIV control in Nigeria. This study was conducted in a pioneer facility for the implementation of the National HIV Prevention and Treatment Programmes.
Objective: The objective of this study was to explore factors that facilitate adherence to clinic appointments from perspectives of child caregivers and service providers.; Methods: This is a qualitative study using in-depth, face-to-face interviews conducted in 2016. Thirty-five participants were purposely sampled to comprise types of caregivers of HIV-exposed/infected children receiving care and from categories of service providers. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed, thematically analysed and presented using a socioecological model.
Results: The themes that emerged from participants' narratives included advanced education, affluence and residing close to the clinic at the intrapersonal level. Stable family dynamics and support, HIV status disclosure and being a biologic parent or grandparent as caregiver emerged at the interpersonal level. At the community level, disclosure and support were identified, while at the health facility level, positive staff attitude, quality of healthcare and peer support group influence were factors identified to facilitate regular clinic attendance.
Conclusion: The factors that enable retention of children in care are multidimensional and intricately connected. Programme improvement initiatives should include regular assessment of clients' perspectives to inform implementation of strategies that could reinforce caregiver confidence in the health system.