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m2m Partners with USAID and Pact to Advance HIV Response in Zambia

Mentor Mothers celebrate the end of a productive day at Chazanga Health Centre, Zambia.

mothers2mothers (m2m) is delighted to announce our participation in the United States Agency for International Development Zambia Integrated Health Activity (USAID ZIH) —a five-year project led by Pact. This collaboration will see m2m significantly expand our presence in Zambia over the next four years (2024 – 2028), delivering integrated HIV and primary health services at scale in the Northwest, Copperbelt, and Central provinces using our proven, peer-led, community-centric model. Under USAID ZIH, m2m will reach over 40,000 people with health services and create 192 new jobs for women living with HIV in the next six months alone, working both at health facilities and door-to-door in communities. 

USAID ZIH is critical to securing healthy futures for all Zambians. Despite remarkable progress, HIV remains a severe threat to lives and livelihoods in Zambia. According to UNAIDS, the country reported 33,000 new HIV infections and 19,000 HIV-related deaths in 2022, contributing to a maternal mortality rate of 135 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births—almost double the 2030 UN target. Delivering integrated, people-centred health care to address HIV and related issues, such as tuberculosis (TB), maternal and child health, family planning, and reproductive health, is essential to drive progress. We believe our proven model of employing and supporting women living with HIV as community health workers will play an important part.   

Through USAID ZIH, by September 2024, m2m intends to reach over 44,000 pregnant women and new mothers, screen 16,655 HIV-positive clients for TB, and link 3,085 women living with HIV to cervical cancer screening services. To achieve these ambitious targets, m2m has already deployed a team of 192 specially trained community health workers known as Mentor Mothers across 90 healthcare facilities and communities in the target provinces.  

Empowered Mentor Mothers Deliver Results  

This development is the latest chapter in m2m’s journey in Zambia. We have been active in the country since 2008, working in the HIV space (including services tailored to adolescent girls and young women), as well as providing broader maternal and child health services.  

Mentor Mother packs dry blood spot sheets for laboratory testing.

Zambia has also been one of the countries where m2m piloted and scaled the integration of clinical services into the scope of work for our community health workers—in particular through dried blood spot (DBS) testing. Mentor Mothers have been trained to conduct DBS tests on HIV-exposed infants. This method, proven effective, reduces false positives and biohazard risks while simplifying sample storage and transportation. By streamlining these testing processes, it ultimately enhances early infant diagnosis and enrollment in care.  

m2m’s powerful combination of local knowledge, skilled staff, and track record of service delivery means we are well positioned to make an immediate impact under USAID ZIH. This development is also perfectly aligned with m2m’s 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, which commits to leveraging our proven peer model to deliver primary health care services to address the evolving and increasingly complex health needs of our core clients. Through this partnership, we are excited to combat HIV, reduce preventable deaths, improve access to healthcare, and ultimately create healthier futures filled with opportunity for thousands of families in Zambia. 

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