Project #8864

Keep Zambian Mothers & Infants Healthy & HIV Free

by Firelight Foundation
Mother taking her ARV
Mother taking her ARV

From the onset of the PMTCT program that Mansa NZP+ has been implementing with support from Firelight Foundation they knew that the Community Based Volunteers (CBVs) would become a critical component of HIV/AIDS care and prevention. They increased their effectiveness by making them vital members of multidisciplinary HIV teams within the health facilities. They also provided tailor-made and appropriate training. The buy-in of medical staff was essential to the program's success, since CBVs would report to a nurse at each facility and participate in clinical meetings.

Mansa NZP+ also knew that trained CBVs would do more than support their clients' adherence to treatment. If the CBVs were based within the health facilities and integrated into their staff, this would facilitate crucial connections between the facilities and the communities where the CBVs lived.

The CBV training program has been transformative: it created a single, expanded circle of care and treatment, rather than adding a loop of home-based, community care that would be a satellite or appendage of the health facility. And, because people living with AIDS (PLHA) were the priority for recruitment as CBVs, the program stood to cement other, important connections by giving PLHA a vital and rewarding role in the day-to-day operations of the health facilities.

Celia is testament to that succcess.

The stress from finding out you have HIV as well as from having to make big changes in your life can lead to physical problems such as headaches, upset stomach, irritability and difficulty concentrating like what I went through,  narrates Cecilia. But with support from a CBV, she was able to realize what she had to do to protect her unborn child. 

" The volunteer was so wonderful as she had the experience on how PMTCT has worked for her. She helped me through the stages of grief. She also supported me as I disclosed my status to my family. She also walked me through the clinic and helped through until I was put on the ARVs the medication that can prolong my life and see my child grow."

It is not enough to get mothers and their infants tested and to keep them on treatment. If anything, that is just the beginning. Mansa NZP+ goes further:

  • Mothers become part of support groups. The support group becomes a safe space where they can get emotional support, share their challenges and find solutions with others. The support group is also an important part of helping women to adhere to treatment and to maintain their clinic visits. 
  • Families are supported in food production. They are trained in good farming methods and received initial inputs for their home gardens. This improved food security and balanced nutrition that is essential for their health and children's health. Gardens are sustained through a seed bank and seed multiplication program.
  • Gardens are complemented by providing women with farm animals, such as goats. Goats are a source of milk, but are also an asset that multiplies rapidly and can be passed on to another vulnerable family. Goats can also be sold in cases of emergency and used to meet the needs of the family.
  • The women are also trained in production skils and in entrepreneurial skills building. For example some women were trained in tailoring and received sewing machines. Others were trained in sales and trade. As women increase their income they are able to meet the needs of their families.

The overall result is that women's lives are improved in all areas: social, emotional, and economic, in addition to health. The benefits accrue to their babies, other children and the whole family.

Engaging Community in HIV Testing
Engaging Community in HIV Testing
  • Linkage to Health Services: Mansa NZP+ started off working with just one clinic. Their initial focus was to increase number of women coming to the clinic for testing. They accomplished this successfully by including fathers (increased father involved by 68%). This increased number of women who enrolled in PMTCT. But after birth of babies, women did not return to the clinic. Mansa NZP stepped in to track mother-child infant pairs and link them back into the clinic. In that process they have created a strong relationship between the clinic and the mother-child pair through the community health volunteer support system. They also supported clinics by creating rooms where mothers could sit comfortably while they waited for their appointments. At the hospital level, they placed an advocate who helps women get the services they need when they travel a long distance to the hospital.  
mother farming
mother farming

Thank you for your generosity! Your gifts are strengthening our community by reducing the transmission of HIV from mother to child.

So far we have received thirty four gifts totaling $1,660! Your donations are a critical piece in our effort to improve the lives of thousands of women and children.

As a result of our work the stigma around HIV is decreasing, and discrimination among children and adolescents is on the decline. We see fewer cases of social isolation and the topic of HIV has become less of a taboo. As a result, our enrollment of young mothers continues to climb. Their care and awareness is a critical step in improving the health care for our community’s children. Healthy mothers are able to farm and start small business activities. And so these families are able to afford the transport costs to medical facilities for critical check-ups, and are able to afford school fees and healthy food for the children.

Thank you for joining our cause and for entrusting our efforts with your support!


Thank you for your continued support of MANSA. You’re supporting a well-rounded, holistic approach to reducing mother to child transmission of HIV. To make this approach real to you, we’ve complied a list of MANSA’s achievements in their community. Please enjoy learning about how you’ve supported mothers and children in Zambia through MANSA's activities:

  • training community health workers to support mothers & children dealing with mother to child HIV transmission
  • creating & supporting mothers’ support groups
  • strengthening district level advocacy to increase services for mothers & infants
  • maintaining a tight focus on HIV awareness, testing, treatment, and care
  • improving access to treatment for children by placing a child health advocate at the hospital and creating a child-friendly waiting room
  • supporting youth living with HIV by providing a recreation space, engaging schools to reduce stigma and discrimination, and school-based youth clubs to educate both teachers and students about HIV
  • linking mothers to clinics to continue treatment after giving birth

With gratitude for all you’ve helped MANSA accomplish,

Firelight Foundation


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Organization Information

Firelight Foundation

Location: Santa Cruz, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​​index.php
Firelight Foundation
Project Leader:
Zanele Sibanda
Director of Programs
Santa Cruz, CA United States

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