A small, land-locked country, the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland) has the highest rate of HIV in the world. One in four of the country’s adults are reported to be HIV positive. However, the country has made considerable progress in improving maternal and infant health outcomes with a 63% reduction in the number of children infected with HIV between 2009 and 2014, and the achievement of the UN Global Plan goal of 90% of pregnant women living with HIV receiving antiretroviral (ARV) medicines.* Eswatini is in the process of implementing Option B+, which recommends all pregnant women who test HIV positive begin ARVs for the rest of their lives.
|OVERVIEW: (as at November 2017)|
|Facility and Community Site Coordinators||72|
|Mentor Mothers (in health centres and communities)||140|
|Family Mentor Mother Coordinators||19|
|Family Mentor Mothers||93|
|Adult HIV prevalence*||27.2%|
mothers2mothers (m2m) was invited by the Ministry of Health to open sites in Eswatini in 2008 through UNICEF, and is currently the only program in the country providing mentoring services under prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) to pregnant women living with HIV. With 56 sites located across all four regions of the country, m2m’s Mentor Mothers reach an average of 1,159 HIV-positive women every month.
Together with various partners, m2m Eswatini is making a significant contribution to prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) support services, empowering women and their families in turning the tide against HIV. A high proportion of the country’s pregnant women are being tested for HIV – about 95% percent by the end of 2015.* The number of HIV-positive pregnant women who received antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to their babies has grown substantially – from 4 percent in 2004 to 95 percent in 2015.* An estimated 81% of HIV-exposed infants are tested for HIV at four to six weeks, which is one of the highest early infant diagnosis rates among the priority countries. The widespread use of testing and treatment in Eswatini is having an impact on the country’s paediatric HIV rate. Infants testing HIV positive at 6 to 8 weeks declined from 21% in 2005 to around 1% by end of 2015.**
“I walk with pride becaue I know I have a big role to play in the wellbeing of my community and that of my country. I know that for each child who is born HIV-negative, there is a chance that we can eradicate the virus forever.”
Khanyisile – Mentor Mother