mothers2mothers (m2m) is pleased to announce that we have recently opened our doors in Tanzania—meaning we are now working across 10 African nations. Our operations in Tanzania are focused on supporting the government’s strategy to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT). This work is funded by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), through the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Reducing Infections through Support and Education (RISE) II mechanism.
In 2018, 1.6 million people were living with HIV in Tanzania. Despite the relatively large number of Tanzanians living with HIV, the country has made significant progress in controlling the HIV epidemic over the last decade. Expanding access to antiretroviral treatment has meant that between 2010 and 2018, the number of new infections declined by 13% and the number of people dying from an AIDS-related illness has halved.
Working closely with the Ministry of Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly, and Children (MoHCDGEC), m2m is providing technical assistance to the Tanzanian government to adopt a national PMTCT Operational Framework for improved care across facilities and communities.
m2m will be leveraging its 19 years of experience in PMTCT in multiple ways. The organisation will advise on policy development and implementation, provide training and capacity building support to government teams and local partners, and help to measure success.
This is not the first time m2m has worked in Tanzania—from 2008 to 2012 we delivered direct services in the country. We are glad to be able to re-enter the country as a partner to champion and support efforts on key PMTCT guidelines on both a national and regional level.
As part of our start up activities, Shombi Ellis (m2m RISE II Chief of Party), Marjorie Mbule (m2m Senior Programme Lead to Tanzania), and Jennifer Erie (USAID/Southern Africa’s Regional Health Officer and RISE II Agreement Officer’s Representative) travelled to Dar Es Salaam, to learn more about the current situation in Tanzania and to finalise key priorities for m2m’s scope of work. Jennifer Erie said: “USAID and m2m have enjoyed a 15-year partnership, and we have seen how m2m’s work can make a significant difference in the fight against HIV/AIDS. Now, through the RISE II mechanism, we are pleased to see m2m partner with the Tanzanian government and other key stakeholders to lower the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in Tanzania. We challenge m2m to bring their extensive experience and proven Mentor Mother Model to drive real progress on the PMTCT journey to an HIV-free future in Tanzania.”
“Some key PMTCT issues raised as focal areas for Government and implementing partners were early infant diagnosis (low uptake of 6-8 week PCR test) and concern over the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. m2m has successfully tackled these issues in other countries, and we hope to be able to rapidly deliver progress for the wellbeing of Tanzanian families,” said Nakululombe Kwendeni, who has also provided support to the Tanzanian programme.
In addition, m2m has also employed its first in-country staff member—Respeace Mgawe—who will be working as the Senior Capacity Building Advisor. With more than 15 years’ experience in designing and implementing public health interventions, Mr. Mgawe will be instrumental in ensuring that we meet our targets in the country.