Original Research

Challenges faced by caregivers of children on antiretroviral therapy at Mutale Municipality selected healthcare facilities, Vhembe District, Limpopo Province

Rhudzani V. Mafune, Rachel T. Lebese, Livhuwani H. Nemathaga
Curationis | Vol 40, No 1 | a1541 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v40i1.1541 | © 2017 Rhudzani V. Mafune, Rachel T. Lebese, Livhuwani H. Nemathaga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 April 2015 | Published: 28 August 2017

About the author(s)

Rhudzani V. Mafune, Department of Public Health, University of Venda, South Africa
Rachel T. Lebese, Department of Advanced Nursing, School of Health, University of Venda, South Africa
Livhuwani H. Nemathaga, Department of Advanced Nursing, School of Health, University of Venda, South Africa

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Background: Children depend solely on caregivers who can be either parents or guardians for drug administration to enhance adherence to antiretroviral treatment (ART), which might pose any number of challenges.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the challenges faced by caregivers of children on ART at Mutale Municipality, Vhembe District, Limpopo Province.
Research design and method: The research design was qualitative, explorative, descriptive and contextual in nature. The population consisted of 16 caregivers who were 18 years of age and above, and mentally capable, irrespective of educational qualifications, caring for children aged between 0 and 15 years who were on ART between April 2013 and October 2014. Non-probability, purposive sampling was used to select the 16 caregivers. Required permission, approval and ethical clearance were obtained from the University of Venda Higher Degree Committee, Limpopo Provincial Health Department and relevant institutions. An in-depth, individual, unstructured interview method was used to collect data. One central question was asked: ‘What are the challenges you experience when caring for a child on antiretroviral treatment?’ Subsequent questions were based on the participants’ responses to the central question. Qualitative data were analysed by means of Tesch’s open-coding method.
Results: The findings of this study revealed that participants, that is, caregivers of children on ART, experienced financial burdens because of transport costs needed to comply with follow-up dates and insufficient of money for food, clothing the child in need of care, pocket money for lunch boxes during school hours and time lost while waiting for consultations. Participants reported some level of stigmatisation against children on ART by family members, especially the husbands or in-laws of the secondary caregivers. Many primary and secondary caregivers seemed to have given up seeking support from government and community structures.
Conclusion: The conclusions drawn from this research are that caregivers hardly receive any support from family members or the community. Fear of disclosing the HIV-positive status of children resulted in the delay of financial support from the government, thus leading to serious financial burden on the caregivers.


Adherence; Anti-retroviral treatment; Caregivers; Stigmatization


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