The integration of STI/HIV services into existing FP and MCH programmes : the perspective of clients.
Since the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development there has been a shift away from meeting demographic targets towards meeting the reproductive goals of individual men and women. Partially as a response to the increase in the level of HIV infection, and the associated high levels of STIs, there has been an increasing focus on integrating HIV/STI services within mainstream Maternal Child Health and Family Planning programmes. Thus clients attending clinics that provide integrated services have the opportunity to receive multiple services during a single visit to a facility. The aim of this research was to evaluate the process of integrating FPIMCH and STI/HIV services in urban and rural areas within KwaZulu-Natal, using data gathered form semi structured interviews with clients leaving the health facilities. The research also examined the overall quality of care received within the integrated clinics. The results show that clients rarely receive a range of services on a single visit, despite the integration of services. In most cases, clients do receive the services for which they attended the health facility. However the study found that providers are missing important opportunities to inform, educate and counsel clients on a variety of reproductive health matters. This is important if we are to avoid the negative consequences of an unwanted pregnancy and STIs (including HIV/AIDS). It was also found that the overall quality of care within integrated clinics was low amongst all clients attending the facility.