Seroprevalence of Syphilis at Delivery at Mount Meru Regional Hospital Tanzania
In Tanzania Screening for Syphilis during antenatal care is only done once at booking. So far in Arusha region like many other regions in Tanzanian hospitals, no study has been done to establish the actual seroprevalence of Syphilis among pregnant women at term or delivery. Thus, there is a missed opportunity of being tested at delivery for those who did not attend RCH clinic and those who acquired Syphilis after they had tested negative at booking. The untreated maternal Syphilis has a significant impact on birth outcomes including congenital Syphilis although Syphilis infection in pregnancy does not affect the course of labour and delivery. Broad objective: To determine seroprevalence of Syphilis at delivery among pregnant women at Mount Meru regional hospital Tanzania. Study design: This was a descriptive cross-sectional hospital based study. Study setting: The study was conducted in Mount Meru Regional Hospital Tanzania between July and September, 2012. Study population: All pregnant women who delivered in Mount Meru regional hospital during the study period regardless of their index pregnancy and previous antenatal Syphilis screening status. Sample size: About 97 pregnant women were recruited sequentially into the study at time of delivery and after delivery. Methods: Self-administered questionnaires were used. After the consent was signed by the respondent, about 4 mls of cubital fossa venous blood was collected and the sample was taken to the laboratory for analysis. RPR test was done and all positive results were confirmed by TPHA test. Data management and analysis The collected data was sorted and entered into Microsoft excel by Statistician. The information was then imported into SPSS statistical package version 17.0 for analysis. The results were presented in tables and descriptive statistics. The Chi- square test was used to test the associations. The level of significance was set at 0.005 Results: In this study the prevalence of Syphilis was found to be 3.1% (p value 0.0001). All women who were infected with Syphilis had a negative test during antenatal period this shows that there was Syphilis seroconversion of 3.1%. Women in polygamous marriage and those with multiple sexual partners were more likely to have Syphilis infection. Factors such as HIV, Socio-demographic characteristics parity, age, gestational age, antenatal profiles, occupation, and education level had no significant association with presence of Syphilis. Limitations: Since Mount Meru hospital is within the Arusha city, this study would reflect prevalence of Syphilis in urban setting and it might not reflect the real situation in rural setting. Conclusion: Seroprevalence of Syphilis in this study was 3.1% which was less than the National Tanzania average of 6.7%. All women who were infected with Syphilis had a negative VDRL test during antenatal period. This shows that there was a Syphilis seroconversion of 3.1%. Women in polygamous marriage and those with multiple sexual partners were more likely to have Syphilis infection. Recommendations: Repeat screening of Syphilis is important in late pregnancy or at delivery.