Africa’s health systems are under tremendous strain. According to the World Health Organization, the continent has a shortage of 4.2 million healthcare workers, and by 2030 that figure will increase to 6.1 million. As a result, there are significant challenges to ensuring those who need healthcare can access services, remain in care, and adhere to their treatment.
This is a major contributor to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa where 200 babies are infected with HIV each day, and nearly 7,000 adolescent girls and young women infected each week, the majority of whom live in the region. Other factors include HIV-related stigma and discrimination still prevalent in many African communities, and a lack of accurate health information. Meanwhile, maternal and child mortality rates remain high – usually attributable to entirely preventable causes.
Addressing Africa’s healthcare gap is critical to meeting the Global Goal of eliminating HIV/AIDS by 2030 and UNAIDS targets pertaining to testing, treatment, and viral suppression. To this end, the African Union has called for two million more community health workers to be deployed across the continent by 2020. Failure to meet this challenge will continue to limit Africa’s socio-economic development.
What We Do and Why
mothers2mothers (m2m) is bolstering African healthcare systems, while delivering empowerment opportunities for women. We employ, train, and help to empower HIV-positive women as community health workers. These “Mentor Mothers” work in local communities and at understaffed health facilities to ensure that women and their families get the health advice and medication they need, are linked to the right clinical services, and are supported on their treatment journey.
The employment enables Mentor Mothers to gain financial security for themselves and their families. By virtue of being professionalised, Mentor Mothers become role models, putting a face to empowered, strong, and healthy HIV-positive women, and thereby helping to reduce HIV-related stigma and discrimination.
Started in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001 with an initial focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, m2m has innovated and built on our strengths to address HIV’s causes and effects, delivering benefits at almost all stages of life. m2m Mentors now provide family-centred support for a range of related health and social issues spanning pregnancy, birth, childhood, and adolescence. We also partner with governments and other NGOs on the adoption of our programme to spread the Mentor Mother Model and its benefits.
Our work has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, created thousands of jobs, and given health and hope to some of the most marginalised in communities across ten African countries.
We have a track record of scaling our services and proven impact, as demonstrated in m2m’s 2016 Annual Evaluation. Highlights include:
m2m enrolled 1.95 million new clients, including women, men, infants, children, and adolescents, together with our partners.
m2m and our partners helped to protect 700,000 infants from HIV infection.
Among the clients we serve directly, m2m has contributed to the virtual elimination of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV for the third year in a row. UNAIDS considers virtual elimination a transmission rate of 5% or below—the average MTCT rate among our enrolled clients is just 1.6%.
m2m provided almost 220,000 adolescent girls and young women in seven countries with services to make healthy choices.
More than 14,000 children benefitted from our Early Childhood Development programmes in four countries.
We employed 1,600 HIV-positive women as Mentor Mothers in 2016, creating professional opportunities and economic wellbeing for women who are often among society’s most marginalised.
Contributing to Global Goals
m2m and our Mentor Mother Model advances 6 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that most directly affect women and children’s health, development, and economic security. m2m also contributes to UNAIDS targets to ensure people are tested, people testing positive for HIV receive treatment, and people placed on treatment get the best outcomes.
If you would like to discuss a partnership with m2m, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.