Introduction Colombia promotes the diagnosis and treatment of gestational syphilis in a single visit using rapid diagnostic tests to prevent mother-to-child transmission. Additionally, integrated health programs pursue the coordinated prevention of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis/HIV. Objective: To identify knowledge gaps among health workers in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis/HIV and to provide recommendations to support these programs.
Methods We conducted a descriptive study based on 306 surveys of health workers in 39 health institutions in the city of Cali. Surveys inquired about planning-management-implementation of services for pregnant women, clinical knowledge of HIV/syphilis/rapid diagnostic tests, and prior training.
Results Knowledge deficits in the management of gestational syphilis were detected among the surveyed health workers, including physicians. Rapid tests for syphilis are currently used in clinical laboratories in Cali, however, procedural deficiencies were observed in their use, including quality control assurance. During the two years prior to the survey, training of health workers in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis/HIV has been limited. Health workers are interested in identifying and treating gestational syphilis in a single event, in using rapid diagnostic tests and in receiving training.
Conclusion Intensive training that targets health workers, policy/decision makers and academic groups is needed to ensure adequate implementation of new strategies for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of syphilis/HIV.
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