Communication and changing attitudes and perceptions towards childrenbearing in the advent of HIV and AIDS:A case study of Newtown and Central Town Communities in Kasama District
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HIV and AIDS prevalence and fertility rates in Southern Africa has been consistently reported among the highest in the world. Little is known, however, about how HIV infection affects the fertility preferences of men and women in the region. The consequences of the pandemic in Southern Africa are growing, not just in size but also in complexity. The consequences are social, cultural, economic and psychological as well as biological. One overlooked consequence of the pandemic is how HIV infection affects the desire to have children in a context where reproduction is highly valued.This study used data collected from a representative sample of women in Kasama district to explore the relationship between HIV and AIDS, and childbearing. A total of 120 questionnaires were distributed in Newtown and Central town communities in the district to help generate information about people‟s perceptions and attitudes towards childbearing following the advent of HIV and AIDS in Kasama.They study incorporated individual level characteristics, knowledge of HIV and AIDS, and access to multimedia HIV and AIDS information to ascertain whether or not the communication strategies put in place by the Government of the Republic Zambia to reduce MTCT were being adhered to. The research analyzed how Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services as implemented by the Ministry of Health at Kasama Urban Clinic has impacted on people‟s preferences to bear more children or not.Finally the following recommendations have been made to ensure that Kasama Urban Clinic, being the major and biggest centre offering PMTCT services in the district to incorporate the Safe Motherhood Action Group (SMAG) initiative. This is in an effort to ensure effective service delivery and communication regarding safe motherhood hence improving on childbearing prospects by women from the clinic especially with the proved efficacy of the services offered by these groups in different parts of the Northern Province.