Measuring socioeconomic inequalities in prenatal HIV test service uptake for prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV in East Africa: A decomposition analysis

Feleke Hailemichael Astawesegn, Elizabeth Conroy, Haider Mannan, Virginia Stulz

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Background Despite efforts made towards the elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission, socioeconomic inequality in prenatal HIV test uptake in East Africa is not well understood. Therefore, this study aimed at measuring socioeconomic inequalities in prenatal HIV test uptake and explaining its main determinants in East Africa Method We analysed a total weighted sample of 45,476 women aged 15-49 years who birthed in the two years preceding the survey. The study used the most recent DHS data from ten East African countries (Burundi, Comoros, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe). The socioeconomic inequality in prenatal HIV test uptake was measured by the concentration index and illustrated by the concentration curve. Then, regression based Erreygers decomposition method was applied to quantify the contribution of socioeconomic factors to inequalities of prenatal HIV test uptake in East Africa. Results The concentration index for prenatal HIV test uptake indicates that utilization of this service was concentrated in higher socio-economic groups with it being 15.94% higher among these groups in entire East Africa (p <0.001), 40.33% higher in Ethiopia (p <0.001) which was the highest and only 1.87% higher in Rwanda (p <0.01) which was the lowest. The decomposition analysis revealed that household wealth index (38.99%) followed by maternal education (13.69%), place of residence (11.78%), partner education (8.24%), watching television (7.32%), listening to the radio (7.11%) and reading newsletters (2.90%) made the largest contribution to socioeconomic inequality in prenatal HIV test in East Africa. Conclusion In this study, pro-rich inequality in the utilization of prenatal HIV tests was evident. The decomposition analysis findings suggest that policymakers should focus on improving household wealth, educational attainment, and awareness of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (MTCT) through various media outlets targeting disadvantaged sub-groups.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0273475
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalPLoS One
Issue number8 August
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

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