world aids day, mothers 2 mothers
November 29 2016 | Blog
December the 1st is World Aids day so it's the perfect week to tell you all about mothers2mothers and why they are one the charities we support. They believe that empowered mothers nurture healthy babies.They do exceptional work with HIV positive mothers in preventing vertical transmission to their babies, and giving women essential access to reproductive rights and family planning. I just love it when women come together to make a difference!
Vision & Mission
They believe in the power of women to eliminate paediatric AIDS and create
health and hope for themselves and their babies, families, and communities.
Their mission is to impact the health of mothers by putting them at the heart of improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. Their Mentor Mother Model empowers mothers living with HIV, through education and employment, as role models to help other women access essential services and medical care.
Through this Mentor Mother Model, they work with governments, local partners, and communities to:
Eliminate HIV infections in children
Reduce maternal and child mortality
Advance healthy development of newborns and children
Improve the health of women, their partners, and families
Promote universal access to reproductive health and family planning
Reduce stigma and discrimination
Promote gender equality
Support livelihood development for families and communities
Significant progress has been made over the last decade towards the elimination of paediatric AIDS. Yet each day, 600 children are still infected with HIV. Almost 90% of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa, and most acquire HIV from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding.
It’s unacceptable… it’s tragic… because it’s almost entirely preventable.
Effective and inexpensive medical interventions are available that can keep mothers and babies healthy. Without these interventions, up to 40% of infants born to HIV-positive mothers will contract the virus. With treatment, that number can be reduced to 2%.
However, most health centres in sub-Saharan Africa are severely understaffed which leaves doctors and nurses with only minutes to give a pregnant woman her HIV diagnosis and explain all of the drugs and tests she must adhere to in order to keep herself healthy and protect her baby from HIV. The stigma of HIV that is prevalent in many African communities causes women to live in fear, making it difficult for them to get the care they need.
What They Do and Why
Mothers 2 Mothers (m2m) are changing that. They train, employ, and empower Mentor Mothers, who are mothers living with HIV, to work alongside doctors and nurses in understaffed health centres as members of the healthcare team. In one-on-one and group sessions, Mentor Mothers provide essential health education and psychosocial support to other HIV-positive mothers on how they can protect their babies from HIV infection, and keep themselves and their families healthy. Mentor Mothers’ ties to the community and first-hand knowledge of HIV makes them highly effective peer mentors.
The women Mentor Mothers serve are more likely to take antiretroviral (ARV) drugs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV and protect their health. Further, the infants of mothers in m2m’s programme are more likely to receive ARVs to protect them from HIV infection, and be administered an early infant diagnosis test to determine their status compared to other infants born to HIV-positive mothers. These outcomes have been shown to have a positive impact on the health of mothers and their children.
m2m’s programme also has a positive impact on the Mentor Mothers themselves. The employment enables Mentor Mothers to gain financial security for themselves and their family. By virtue of being professionalised, Mentor Mothers become role models in health centres and their communities, putting a face to empowered, strong, and healthy HIV-positive women, and thereby reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
The Mentor Mother Model has been identified as a key strategy in the United Nations Global Plan to eliminate paediatric AIDS by 2015 and keep mothers alive.
m2m advances four of the eight United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that most directly affect the health of women and children.
Expanding Their Reach
While Mentor Mothers are still primarily focused on preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child and promoting maternal and infant health, m2m is enhancing the scope of their work to enable clients and their families improve their overall health. Mentor Mothers are currently being equipped with the technical knowledge and skills to offer education, support, and referrals on a wide range of health issues important to their clients. In order to reach even more women and their families, m2m is moving its Mentor Mother services out into communities. They are also formalising the education and support Mentor Mothers give to HIV-negative pregnant women and new mothers to help them stay healthy and HIV-free.
You can also read more about World Aids Day and the work of UNAIDS here.
Hope & Fortune
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