Mentor Mothers’ Exciting New Role:
Earlier this year, 24 Mentor Mothers and Site Coordinators in South Africa participated in a five-day workshop that was a mothers2mothers (m2m) first. In addition to focusing on the prevention of HIV from mother to child, they received training on how to support HIV-negative women and provide education and referrals on a wide range of health issues, including cervical cancer, TB, malaria, and nutrition. Read more here.
Gloria's Adventures in Europe:Gloria Ncanywa – a former Mentor Mother who now supports the South Africa Programme Team at m2m’s head office in Cape Town -- travelled to Geneva and London in June for 10 days. While most of her time was spent meeting current and potential m2m supporters and talking about the lifesaving work that Mentor Mothers are doing, she also had time to take in some sights, including one that she never expected -- a pack of nude cyclists riding through the streets of London. Read more here.
m2m Reveals Refreshed Vision and Mission:As Mentor Mothers’ roles evolve through m2m’s Enhanced Programme Model (story above), so too is the language that guides and motivates our work. Earlier this summer CEO Frank Beadle de Palomo unveiled a refreshed vision and mission for m2m that reflect the inspiring new responsibilities of Mentor Mothers as essential frontline healthcare workers. Read more here.
An m2m Success Story: Preparing for Post-election Violence in Kenya:On March 4, 2013, droves of Kenyans cast their votes in one of the most anticipated general elections in the nation’s history. It was the first time the country went to the polls since the hotly contested election five years ago that resulted in unprecedented levels of violence, the loss of over 1,200 lives, and difficulties getting the most basic services in the period that followed. mothers2mothers’ (m2m) country office in Kenya was concerned that its HIV-positive clients would not be able to access the critical medicine and support needed to keep them and their babies healthy. To make sure that didn’t happen, m2m set up contingency plans and was the only PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission) organisation to stay open in the two weeks following the election. Read More.
In Appreciation of Fathers
mothers2mothers (m2m) knows that without fathers, there wouldn’t be mothers! In fact, fathers can do so much to help their partners stay healthy and keep their babies free of HIV. Take Robert Kankati in Uganda, whose wife found out she was HIV positive while pregnant. Watch his story here.
m2m’s New Partnership with Influential Bloggers
What do bloggers who write about culture, travel, home decorating, parenting, work, healthy living, fashion, and beauty have in common with the HIV-positive women we work with in Africa? They care deeply about promoting healthy motherhood and making sure that every child everywhere is born free of HIV. This team of eleven accomplished bloggers is supporting our mothers in Africa with an exciting new monthly blog on our website, called m2m Mums the Word. Read more here.
Why We Do What We Do
One of the greatest rewards at mothers2mothers (m2m) is seeing a mother and baby who are healthy and excited about the future because of the support and information they received from our programme. We met Delisile Dlamini, her husband and 14-month-old daughter earlier this month at their small house in Manzini, Swaziland. Her story shows how Mentor Mothers are changing the lives of mothers and families throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
Watch a video from one of our moms!
Country Focus: Swaziland's Unexpected Success Tackling Paediatric HIV:
Khanyisile Mavimbela (pictured on right) took her first HIV test when she was in her late twenties, unmarried and pregnant. Shocked when the results came back positive, she worried she would infect her baby with the virus. She felt scared and alone, and didn’t know where to turn for help.
Khanyisile’s story is all too common in Swaziland, a small landlocked kingdom nestled next to the Lumbombo Mountains and bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. The country’s unfortunate claim to fame is that it has the highest rate of HIV in the world. Read More
m2m Launches Exciting New Regional Project with USAID
mothers2mothers (m2m) has launched a new regional project with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that has the potential of bringing our lifesaving peer education and support services to countries throughout Southern and Eastern Africa, the region hit hardest by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The project, called Mentor Mothers Reducing Infections through Support and Education (RISE), is the first regional partnership between m2m and USAID. Read More
The 2012 holiday season and start to 2013 were quite busy here at m2m, including a huge development in m2m Kenya. Read on for exciting m2m updates!
Great m2m news in Kenya: m2m is proud to share an exciting milestone for our organization – the release of national guidelines for the Kenya Mentor Mother Program (KMMP) that will place Mentor Mothers at health centers throughout Kenya in order to provide many more HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers with lifesaving information and support. The KMMP is modeled in large part on m2m’s Mentor Mother program, and is the first program that m2m has helped develop to integrate Mentor Mothers into a national healthcare system. Read the KMMP Guidelines here.
A Mother’s story from Kenya Mentor Mothers:
As part of a story writing workshop organized by USAID in Kenya, m2m Program Assistant and former Site Coordinator, Emily Owino, wrote an inspiring piece about what happened when pregnant Naomi Joy, a counselor who works with commercial sex workers, found out something she thought would never happen to her—that she was HIV positive. The story of how Joy kept her baby HIV-free highlights the importance and great potential of Kenya’s national campaign to stop new HIV infections among children by 2015, and keep their mothers alive, which was launched by Kenyan Minister for Public Health and Sanitation, Beth Mugo. Read the moving story in its entirety on Kenya’s USAID site.
m2m mother sends holiday greetings: This 2012 holiday season, mothers2mothers transported supporters through video to the township of Khayelitsha, outside Cape Town, by introducing extraordinary Mentor Mother, Nozi Samela. In three daily installments, Nozi shared her story of what happened after she was diagnosed HIV positive while pregnant, how she faced unimaginable heartbreak in the years that followed, and what restored her hope for the future.
See all three segments of Nozi’s story on youtube, or by clicking here.
It’s been a busy three months at mothers2mothers with a change in leadership, global health activities tied to the opening of the UN General Assembly and the International AIDS Conference in DC. Following are some of the highlights:
m2m welcomed a new CEO: On October 1st, mothers2mothers welcomed Frank Beadle de Palomo as our new Chief Executive Officer. Frank is an accomplished and innovative public health leader with more than 26 years of experience in the global health community that include significant achievements in HIV prevention, as well as domestic and global care, research and advocacy programs. He shares mothers2mothers’ vision for healthy mothers and children and we know he will be an exceptional champion for the women we serve. Read more information on Frank and his background here.
m2m participated in United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) global health week: While world leaders gathered at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly in September, Johnson & Johnson co-hosted a luncheon on the increasingly critical role that frontline healthcare workers are playing in the overburdened health systems of the world’s poorest countries. As our Co-Founder and International Director Robin Smalley said at the luncheon, mothers2mothers is training and employing what we think is the ultimate frontline healthcare worker… mothers.
In a blog on the Huffington Post, coinciding with the opening of the UNGA, Robin wrote about how our Mentor Mothers, who themselves are living with HIV, are at the heart of our efforts to eliminate pediatric AIDS by providing lifesaving information and support to HIV positive pregnant women to have healthy babies and stay healthy to raise them. Read Robin’s blog here.
m2m joins with EGPAF in support of WHO’s Option B+: During the XIX International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC at the end of July, m2m teamed up with the Elizabeth Glazer Pediatric Aids Foundation in support of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Option B+. WHO recently encouraged countries to consider accelerating the adoption of one of two options for preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) that both include added benefits for and emphasis on the health of mothers. Option B includes the use of triple-drug therapy for the mother during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and Option B+ continues that drug regimen for the mother’s lifetime.
There is growing consensus that Option B+ represents an evolving best standard for protecting both mother and child from the effects of HIV. m2m announced it will support country efforts to implement Option B+ by using our simple and effective Mentor Mother model to promote enrollment and retention in care. Because m2m’s Mentor Mothers provide additional human resources – educating and supporting mothers as they learn to understand, accept, and adhere to lifelong treatment regimens – we can further ease the pressure this new protocol might cause already strained health systems. m2m is prepared to use its trusted presence in communities to ensure that all women, especially those not currently accessing care, are able to benefit from Option B+. Read the full statement here.
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