In sub-Saharan Africa, countries have made tremendous strides towards the elimination of pediatric AIDS, tackling complex challenges such as the availability of health care services for HIV-positive pregnant women and persistent stigma and discrimination to reduce the number of preventable infant HIV infections. Founded in 2001, mothers2mothers (m2m) works to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV during pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding by providing education and support to local mothers living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa.
This year (2016) marks a decade of Johnson & Johnson partnership with mothers2mothers. The work over the past ten years has reached 1.3 million women in 9 countries with counseling and services.
The innovative and successful mothers2mothers Mentor Mother model is aimed at empowering HIV-positive women to serve as mentors and as resources to other HIV-positive women in their communities. Through its embedded community efforts that provide peer education and psychosocial support to HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers, the Mentor Mothers program has proven effective in helping women access medical interventions that significantly reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, supporting them to lead healthy lives.
In Uganda, m2m’s programs have contributed to large reductions in mother-to-child HIV transmission rates and provide a significant return on investment: US$11.40 is saved through averted HIV treatment with every US$1 spent on m2m’s Mentor Mother program.
m2m also developed the Electronic Client Appointment Diary for m2m’s facility-based services in 2014.
This new mobile-enabled app allows m2m Mentor Mothers to effectively and efficiently track client appointments and has resulted in:
- Increase retention in HIV care for patients
- Increased patient adherence to prescribed drug regiments
- Improved supportive supervision and performance management
- Real-time data access and improved M&E
This new digital platform has been rolled out to all 82 m2m supported health facilities in South Africa. Working with partners such as Comic Relief and USAID, efforts are currently underway to scale the program to 100+ additional sites in 2016 across five countries: Swaziland, Lesotho, Malawi, Kenya and Uganda.
The UN Global Plan, in 2014, recognized m2m’s monumental achievement of the successful elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV among m2m clients in the targeted countries. With continued support from Johnson & Johnson, this success has the potential to spread to more countries to eliminate the threat of HIV and AIDS to mothers and children worldwide.
Related article: Women Mentoring Women – A Powerful Force to Eliminate Pediatric AIDS