mothers2mothers: helping mothers, saving babies
Every day, 1,000 babies in Africa are born with HIV – compared to one a day in the US and Europe. There is global consensus that mother-to-child transmission of HIV can be virtually eliminated by 2015, in part, by addressing the needs of pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV. mothers2mothers (m2m) works to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV by training and employing mothers living with HIV/AIDS (Mentor Mothers) to provide education and support to pregnant women and new mothers with HIV/AIDS. m2m is improving the long-term health and well-being of women and children worldwide.
m2m employs “Mentor Mothers” to prevent new HIV infections among infants and keep their mothers alive. This improves the long-term health and wellness of women and children globally.
- In 2010, mothers2mothers’ Mentor Mothers reached 1 in every 5 pregnant women living with HIV in the world.
- mothers2mothers grew from one site in one country to more than 700 sites in nine countries, employing nearly 1,800 HIV-positive women.
- Women who visited a mothers2mothers site multiple times for education and support were more likely to be taking anti-retroviral drugs, and more likely to have disclosed their HIV status to others, than women who visited just once.
- The governments of Kenya and Malawi have asked us to advise and assist with the development and scale-up of a national program based on the m2m model. This is an important step in transitioning our programs to the governments in the countries in which we work.
- mothers2mothers is using mobile phones to connect women to care, information, and support by exploring a range of innovative approaches to extend the reach and impact of Mentor Mothers.
mothers2mothers enrolled about 300,000 unique HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers last year, a figure which represents 20% of all HIV-positive pregnant women in the world. By attending mothers2mothers, these women are given the education and support they need to successfully prevent the transmission of HIV and keep themselves and their babies healthy. m2m trains, employs, and remunerates nearly 1,800 mothers living with HIV as Mentor Mothers and Site Coordinators . As paid employees, Mentor Mothers are strengthening their families and are visible role models for their communities. By living healthy lives, they are empowering other women to do the same – leading to healthier, more vibrant communities. m2m’s clients and staff, their babies and families are our beneficiaries.
m2m’s simple and replicable model has allowed us to expand quickly. The core of our model – women talking to other women – does not require advanced technology or expensive equipment. By partnering with governments and health facilities, we are able to use existing space in health facilities, keeping costs low. The ultimate sustainability of our model rests in governments adopting our model and administering their own Mentor Mother programme. By providing technical assistance to these governments, m2m will be able to expand our services to the 22 countries (including 9 in which we already work) identified by UNAIDS as in critical need of PMTCT services. We are working to reach as many HIV-positive women as possible in the most efficient and sustainable way possible to achieve the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission by 2015.
Health facilities throughout Sub-Saharan Africa are severely understaffed and overburdened. The existing corps of doctors and nurses cannot effectively deliver all of the interventions essential to meet the needs of patients with HIV/AIDS. m2m’s innovative model trains and employs HIV-positive mothers to provide the necessary education and psychosocial support to HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers to prevent the mother-to-child transmission of HIV. m2m’s model is an example of task-shifting, our Mentor Mothers fill roles and responsibilities traditionally held by doctors and nurses, easing the burden on the health system and improving the continuity of care and education clients receive. This new cadre of professionalised health workers fills the existing gap in health care delivery and works toward the ultimate goal of the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission by 2015.
Since 2001, m2m has grown from a single support group in Cape Town, South Africa to a multinational NGO operating at 714 sites in 9 countries. m2m’s simple and easily replicable model has allowed us to expand rapidly. The need for Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) care is greater than ever and m2m is committed to meeting that need in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Using our three business models, direct implementation, implementing partners, and technical assistance, m2m will expand our services in the 22 HIV/AIDS focus countries recently identified by UNAIDS, including those in which m2m currently operates.
Source of funding
m2m is a non-profit organization and uses grants and donations from governments, multilateral organizations, foundations, and private donors to fund our programmes.