mothers2mothers (m2m) is delighted to announce that we will shortly be launching our services in Ghana! Made possible through a new, generous investment from British Airways, which is managed by Comic Relief, our work in Ghana will have a particular focus on nurturing care and Early Childhood Development (ECD). This is our first foray into West Africa, and we are excited about extending our reach to children, women and families in this region. m2m Ghana sites will be operational from late 2019, and we will be holding a formal launch event in Accra in February 2020.
Using our tried and tested model, local women living with HIV will be trained and employed as “Mentor Mothers”, frontline health workers who deliver lifesaving health services, education and support to their communities—working both from health facilities and door-to-door. ECD services—a priority for both the Government of Ghana and m2m—will be integrated into our work from the outset. This will help parents and caregivers nurture their child’s development in a well-rounded way, including addressing areas such as nutrition, the importance of play, and accessing health services. We are already working in close partnership with the Government of Ghana; the Ministry of Gender, Education and Social Protection; the Ghana Health Service; the National AIDS Control Programme; and other local stakeholders to achieve our aims, and will continue to do so.
At mothers2mothers, we have long recognised the importance of our younger clients’ early years. More than 80% of a child’s brain is formed by the age of three, but nearly two in three children in sub-Saharan Africa are still at risk of not reaching their full development potential due to poverty or stunting. In Ghana, children under five represent 14% of the population. But one in four young children are at risk of poor development and about 3,200 new HIV infections were recorded among infants and children across the country in 2017. The Government of Ghana has recognised these challenges and has put in places steps to address them—including by becoming the first country in the world to adopt the World Health Organization’s Nurturing Care For Early Childhood Development framework and by devising a detailed and dedicated ECD strategy. Against this backdrop, m2m is glad to be able to play our part in creating the building blocks Ghanaian children will need for a flying start to life.
This exciting development is being made possible with the support of long-time supporter, Comic Relief, through their partnership with British Airways, who have committed £1M to support m2m over two years through its Flying Start programme. Since June 2010, British Airways’ Flying Start has worked with Comic Relief to help give disadvantaged young people in the communities they fly to the chance to have a brighter future. By focusing on the next generation, this partnership will do just that—it will help create a flying start to life for the children we will work with by ensuring that they thrive, not just survive. m2m is putting this donation to work both by opening in Ghana, and by enhancing our integrated ECD services in South Africa.
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 Ghanaian Times, Ghana Records 3,200 New HIV Infections in Children in 2017, 25 January 2019