Study finds that for every U.S. dollar spent ($1) on m2m’s Mentor Mother programme in Uganda, $11.40 is saved through averted HIV treatment.
Cape Town, South Africa – February 2, 2015: – An independent evaluation has found that mothers2mothers’ (m2m) Mentor Mother Model, as implemented under the STAR-EC Program in Uganda, significantly improves maternal and infant PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission) outcomes and psychosocial wellbeing, and contributes to reducing mother-to-child HIV transmission rates, while at the same time offering the potential of saving tens of millions of dollars through averted treatment costs if the programme were implemented nationally.
“These are very significant research findings for mothers2mothers. They provide us for the first time with concrete evidence of something we have long believed — that m2m’s Mentor Mother Model is both programmatically and cost beneficial,” says m2m President and CEO Frank Beadle de Palomo.
Funded by Johnson & Johnson, the study was conducted by independent researchers who collected information from 62 health facilities in Uganda that were divided into two groups: 31 of the health facilities were supported by m2m’s Mentor Mothers programme while another 31 control health facilities did not have an m2m presence. Among the key findings:
- m2m’s Mentor Mother programme has a significantly positive impact on maternal and infant PMTCT outcomes, compared to outcomes at health facilities with no m2m presence, including improved:
- retention-in-care of HIV-positive women 12 months after being initiated on triple anti-retroviral drugs (ART) (90.9% vs. 63.6%)
- uptake of early infant diagnosis test for HIV 6-8 weeks after birth (71.5% vs. 45.8%)
- initiation of HIV-positive infants on ART (60.9% vs. 27.8%)
- m2m’s programme contributes to significant reduction in mother-to-child HIV transmission rates at 18 months (6.8%), compared to mother-to-child HIV transmission rates at facilities without m2m (8.7%).
- Women who receive support from Mentor Mothers have significantly greater psychosocial wellbeing, compared to those who do not (44.7% vs. 36.5%).
- The m2m Mentor Mother Model has a high return on investment when comparing the significant benefits of the programme to the costs required to implement it. For every U.S. dollar spent ($1) on the Mentor Mother programme in Uganda, there is $11.40 in cost savings associated with averted HIV treatment and diagnostic costs.
- If m2m’s programme were to be implemented on a national level in Uganda, an estimated 1,724 paediatric HIV infections would be prevented each year. That would save approximately $51 million on treatment costs over the lifetime of infants born HIV negative due to m2m’s prevention efforts.
“The evaluation results clearly indicate improved health outcomes, as well as significant cost savings, associated with the Mentor Mother program in Uganda. As such, scaling up the Mentor Mother Model to be part of the standard of care for providing psychosocial support for all PMTCT patients in Uganda is highly desirous and we recommend it,” concluded Charlotte Zikusooka, the study’s lead researcher.
m2m has worked in Uganda since 2010 under the Strengthening TB and HIV & AIDS Response in East Central Uganda (STAR-EC) programme. STAR-EC is a six-year initiative funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that covers nine districts in East Central Uganda and serves a population of approximately 3.1 million people (9% of Uganda’s total population). m2m operates its programme in partnership with JSI Research & Training Institute Inc, which has been implementing HIV & AIDS and TB-related activities in East Central Uganda since March 2009.
For more information, read a summary of the external evaluation.
m2m trains, employs, and empowers mothers living with HIV as Mentor Mothers to work alongside doctors and nurses in understaffed health centres in sub-Saharan Africa to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies, and improve the health of women, their children, and families. Mentor Mothers provide essential health education and peer-to-peer support to other women, encouraging them to seek medical care early in their pregnancy, adhere to life-saving medications, and stay in treatment for optimum results for themselves and their families. Learn more at m2m.org or follow mothers2mothers @m2mtweets.