Putting an end to paediatric AIDS

mothers2mothers (m2m) is an African-based, global not-for-profit organisation that recognises African women living with HIV as the greatest resource available to ending paediatric AIDS.

From mother to mother

m2m’s 'Mentor Mother Model' empowers HIV-positive mothers from local communities by training them, and then employing them as frontline healthcare workers in understaffed health centres. These Mentor Mothers educate and support other women on how to protect their babies from HIV infection and keep themselves and their families healthy.

In 2014, m2m enrolled 484 600 women in their programme in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including 100 500 HIV-positive women and 384 100 HIV-negative women. The organisation also reached 106 700 HIV-exposed infants through the Mentor Mother Model.

Improving the well-being of mothers and children

This model has been proven to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV, improve the health and well-being of mothers and children, while at the same time creating significant savings through averted HIV treatment costs.

“Mentor Mothers’ intimate understanding of the social and cultural challenges of living with HIV gives them a unique ability to form trusted relationships with other women unparalleled in maternal and child healthcare in Africa. Their shared experiences and common bonds are vital to helping women access care and stay on treatment for the best possible health outcomes for themselves and their families,” says David Torres, Special Advisor to the President and CEO at mothers2mothers.


What you can do to help

The organisation believes that paediatric AIDS can be eliminated entirely, and its work has contributed to the great strides that have been made to make that a reality. m2m’s hope is that this generation will be the one to end paediatric AIDS – for good.

But to do so, it is critical for mothers2mothers to continue to raise funds and awareness for its efforts, which is why the organisation has partnered on World AIDS Day this year, and into 2016, with the 100 percent not-for-profit social enterprise, Relate Bracelets.

Relate Bracelets makes and sells handmade beaded bracelets to help support more than 70 causes, the latest being m2m. Proceeds from the sale of each bracelet support not only the cause, but the seniors in impoverished communities who supplement their pensions by threading the beads, many of whom care for their grandchildren and others orphaned by HIV/Aids. Relate’s young staff who close and pack the bracelets also benefit with training in their chosen fields, to further their careers beyond Relate.

Relate Bracelets are instantly recognisable by their signature 'R' bead, a sign of their transparency and accountability.

Bracelets in support of m2m are sold in Made in SA stores, which can be found at the V&A Waterfront, the Cape Town airport domestic departures hall, and Johannesburg International airport departures hall.

Quick facts:

  • Each day, 600 children worldwide are newly infected with HIV – the majority living in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Nearly all of these children acquire HIV from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. About half of them will die before the age of two if their HIV infection goes untreated.
  • Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV is almost entirely preventable. Medical intervention can reduce the risk of MTCT from 40% without intervention, to as low as 2%, while also helping to keep mothers alive to raise their children.
  • One in four HIV-positive women who delivered their babies in the countries supported by m2m received education and support from a Mentor Mother in 2014.
  • m2m’s 2014 annual evaluation shows that, according to UN Global Plan guidelines, m2m has achieved, on average, the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV.

This article was first published by All4Women on 01 Decmber 2015, click here to view original article.