Background: Private health institutions are rapidly expanding in our country, making significant contributions to improve access to health care, particularly to the urban population. Provision of comprehensive PMTCT services by the sector is one potential and crucial area in the fight against HIV/AIDS. However, the involvement of the sector in the national PMTCT program in negligible.
Objective: to assess the status of PMTCT service provision in private for-profit maternal and child health (MCH) special clinics, MCH hospitals and general hospitals in Ethiopia.
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted from February to March 2008 in private health institutions in all regions and two city administrations of Ethiopia.
Result: A total of 40 eligible health institutions were visited with a response rate of 97.5% Most facilities, 27 (69%.2%), were located in Addis Ababa, None of the facilities were providing comprehensive PMTCT service package of the 172 service providers directly involved in at least one of the reproductive health care services in the target facilities, none were providing a complete package of the PMTCT services to their clients and only 64(37.2%) of them had ever taken in service training on PMTCT. All institution, however, were willing to participate in future efforts and activates to initiate or improve the PMTCT services according to the national guideline.
Conclusion and recommendations: the findings reflect the huge missed opportunity in addressing PMTCT service needs among the increasing number of women visiting private health facilities. It could have been also a good entry point to reach not only pregnant women who come for antenatal follow up but other family members who are in need of HIV/AIDS care/services also. There is high need and strong commitment for providing PMTCT services in the private health institutions. Immediate action, by all concerned governmental nongovernmental stake holders, should be taken to work together and meet the badly needed support if we are to achieve the national shared vision.