Syphilis control in pregnancy: Effectiveness and sustainability of a decentralized program.

Document Type



Obstetrics and Gynaecology (East Africa)


OBJECTIVES: This study sought to assess the performance, effectiveness, and costs of a decentralized antenatal syphilis screening program in Nairobi, Kenya.

METHODS: Health clinic data, quality control data, and costs were analyzed.

RESULTS: The rapid plasma reagin (RPR) seroprevalence was 3.4%. In terms of screening, treatment, and partner notification, the program's performance was adequate. The program's effectiveness was problematic because of false-negative and false-positive RPR results. The cost per averted case was calculated to be US$95 to US$112.

CONCLUSIONS: The sustainability of this labor-intensive program is threatened by costs and logistic constraints. Alternative strategies, such as the mass epidemiologic treatment of pregnant women in high-prevalence areas, should be considered.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

American journal of public health