Funding will expand mothers2mothers’ innovative Mentor Mother programme in sub-Saharan Africa to prevent paediatric HIV and reduce maternal mortality
London, U.K. – June 13, 2013 – mothers2mothers (m2m) has been awarded a three-year Impact Grant by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) to improve access to and uptake of medical interventions for HIV prevention among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa. The grant was awarded as part of DFID’s Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF), which supports initiatives that make significant contributions to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and poverty reduction.
Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said, “Globally, HIV is the leading cause of death of women of reproductive age and 60% of those living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa are women or girls. No country can develop if its women cannot reach their full potential. That’s why I’m delighted mothers2mothers, working with DFID Global Poverty Action Fund support, will improve access to HIV prevention in seven countries and provide a better future for women and their families.”
“The elimination of HIV in children has been medically possible for over a decade, yet 900 children are newly infected with HIV every day, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Even with recent improvements in PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) services in the region, many women are not accessing treatment due to HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and a severe shortage of medical personnel,” says Emma France, European Director of mothers2mothers. “We are grateful to DFID for helping us support women so that they can access this essential medical care.”
m2m’s work under the Impact Grant is guided by the U.N. Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive. The Global Plan encourages national accountability and country-driven initiatives to achieve its goals. The funding will support projects already underway to establish national Mentor Mother programmes in Kenya and South Africa, and enable m2m to respond to requests from additional governments seeking to integrate the Mentor Mother model into their national health systems.
m2m’s Mentor Mother programme involves training, employing and empowering mothers living with HIV to work alongside doctors and nurses in critically understaffed health centres in their communities. These “Mentor Mothers” provide health education and psychosocial support to prevent the transmission of HIV from mother-to-child and keep mothers alive. They are trained, paid and professionalised, which benefits not only their respective families but also the community as a whole and reduces the stigma associated with HIV.
The women Mentor Mothers serve are more likely to disclose their HIV status, to pursue HIV treatment and testing, and to deliver their babies in health care facilities than mothers who do not have a Mentor Mother. “Mentor Mothers know firsthand how scary it is to be a pregnant woman diagnosed with HIV and the medical interventions that are important in keeping mothers and babies healthy. Women are also more likely to trust other women from their community, which makes them much more effective mentors,” says Nolubabalo Gloria Ncanywa, a former Mentor Mother and Site Coordinator who currently works as Assistant Administrator of m2m’s South Africa programme. She is visiting theU.K. and Switzerland this week to raise awareness of m2m’s work in sub-Saharan Africa.
mothers2mothers (m2m) is eliminating transmission of HIV from mothers to babies and improving the health of women, their partners and families with its proven Mentor Mother model. Since its inception, m2m has reached more than one million mothers in nine countries. Founded in South Africa in 2001, m2m is a partner in the United Nations’ Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive. Learn more at m2m.org or follow mothers2mothers @m2mtweets.
Simon Barson, m2m Europe
Phone: +44 (0) 207 589 8254
Carolyn McEwen, m2m International
Phone: +1 323 969-0445