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Global Health Corps CEO Barbara Bush visits m2m site in Malawi

22 January 2015

Left to right, Mentor Mother Violet Mbewe, Barbara Bush, and GHC Fellows

Left to right, Mentor Mother Violet Mbewe, Barbara Bush, and GHC Fellows

Barbara Bush, Co-Founder and CEO of Global Health Corps (GHC), toured m2m’s site at the Bwaila Hospital in Lilongwe, Malawi, and learned about the lifesaving work we are doing there from Mentor Mother Violet Mbewe, who manages the site. She also met with two GHC Fellows – Julie Karfakis and Dorothy Mkwezalamba – who are working with m2m in Malawi for their year long fellowship. Malawi television and radio covered the visit.

m2m and GHC have partnered since 2011. As a regional organisation with limited funding, m2m welcomes the support provided by GHC Fellows which requires limited cost contributions from m2m.

GHC selects recent college graduates and young professionals from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds and places them in health-oriented organisations in the U.S., East and Southern Africa for a paid year of service. Fellows operate in teams of two – one American fellow with one in-country fellow – to create solutions for a variety of health issues like HIV, maternal and child health, nutrition and access to healthcare.

Barbara Bush speaking with the press

Barbara Bush speaking with the press

“Interacting with the Mentor Mothers and clients has made me realise that knowledge is power,” said GHC Fellow Dorothy Mkwezalamba, who is from Malawi and a former MOH officer. “The training the Mentor Mothers go through makes them more knowledgeable on the issues of PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) and HIV/AIDS in general. From the interactions, I can tell that mothers2mothers has really empowered them to take care of their health and families….They are proudly playing as role models in their community. These Mentor Mothers have inspired me a lot.”

Since 2011, six GHC Fellows have been placed with m2m Malawi. They support the training of Mentor Mothers, assist with supervision of site staff, support monitoring and evaluation of m2m programmes and new initiatives, and develop input for concept notes, leading national research, and communications materials.

GHC Fellow Julie Karfakis said of her experiencing coming to Malawi from the U.S., “the relationships I have made with the women I have met in Malawi is for me, one of the most important aspects of this opportunity. Being a GHC Fellow has allowed me to work in a country that is not my own, and get to know and learn from the people that work for and benefit from a program like m2m. I hope that as I move forward in my global health career, I will remember to form strong, meaningful relationships with the people I work with and those I aim to serve.”

“We appreciate the partnership with GHC, sponsored by J&J, which brings together diverse young professionals to work with our team to eliminate paediatric AIDS in Malawi,” said Veena Sampathkumar, m2m’s Country Director in Malawi. “The fellows actively contribute to the programme and have an opportunity to learn and be mentored from the team. In 2013, a graduated GHC Fellow, Elizabeth Mkandawire, joined our team as an M&E Coordinator.”

Read GHC Fellow Julie Karfakis’ blog on fathers and paediatric AIDS

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