Effectiveness of partner notification in the management of sexually transmitted infections in Nairobi
Nyanchera, Wakasiaka Sabina
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Partner notification is the health activity in which sexual partners of individuals with a Sexually Transmitted Infection are notified, counseled about exposure risks and offered services. Brown et al., 1970 has shown that notification has been a strategy for controlling these diseases for many years. The aim of the study was to assess partner notification practices among STI patients and Health Care Providers in Nairobi. A cross sectional descriptive study was carried out in16 city council clinics over a period of 16 weeks. Four hundred and seven STI patients were recruited in the study. Respondents were asked standardized questions about presenting STI complaint, symptomatic period and the number of sex partners. The patients were then counseled and offered a referral slip for all partners. The results show most of the patients were index patients 84%, primary 15.5%, and secondary 0.5%. Notably, there were no tertiary patients seen. The main barrier to notification was fear of quarrels and violence from the partners. Respondents were not sure on how partner's notification can be improved, 37.8%. There was no difference between patients issued with referral cards and those without P< 0.108. However, patients with multiple sex partners referred fewer partners 17.9% compared with those who had one partner 82.1 %), P<0.00045. Partner notification is an essential tool in prevention and control of STIs. It is difficult for people to notify unless they are well informed about their diagnosis mode of transmission and the need to treat partner. This calls for urgent formulation and implementation of a tracking system that will help trace difficult cases. Future studies should focus on re-infection rates among referred patients.