Author(s): Mlangeni, N., Adetokunboh, O., Lembani, M., Malotle, M., Nyasulu, P.

Source: BMJ Open 2022;12:e059806. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2021-059806


Introduction: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region harbours the highest burden of HIV infections in the world. Agricultural work has been reported as one of the occupations with a high prevalence of HIV. Farm workers generally have poor access to health services, which prevents them from receiving proper HIV prevention and care. Furthermore, poor policies and policy implementation, and lack of workplace programmes increases farm workers’ vulnerability to HIV infection. Thus, the aim of this study is to conduct a systematic review to assess HIV prevention and treatment services and national policies governing access to healthcare services by farm workers in SSA.

Methods and analysis: Our systematic review will include studies published from January 1990 to December 2021 within SSA countries. We will use a sensitive search strategy for electronic bibliographic databases and grey literature sources. Databases will include PubMed, CINAHL, Cochrane library, African Index Medicus and Scopus. The main outcomes to be reported will be HIV policy for farmworkers, availability of HIV prevention service(s), availability of treatment and support to farmworkers who are living with HIV, presence of referral structures for farmworkers through the health system and follow-up services for farmworkers who are on antiretroviral therapy. We will synthesise the main characteristics of included studies and use summary measures to describe study characteristics. In a situation where data are not sufficiently homogeneous to perform a quantitative synthesis, we will conduct a narrative synthesis. We will explore themes and relationships between included studies for qualitative data.

Ethics and dissemination: The study will use publicly available data and ethics exemption has been obtained from Human Research Ethics Committees, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University. The results of this study will be disseminated through peer-reviewed journals, conference presentations and seminars.