Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies

by Alive Medical Services
Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies
Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies
Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies
Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies
Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies
Stop the Spread of HIV from Mothers to Babies
Joan sits outside AMS' pharmacy with her family.
Joan sits outside AMS' pharmacy with her family.
Joan was only 19 when she realized she was HIV-positive. She had been sick for weeks, suffering from headaches, fever and fatigue, when a friend finally suggested she visit Alive Medical Services (AMS) to be tested. That day, Joan was counseled, diagnosed and immediately enrolled in care. 

“I was continuously supported by the AMS doctors and counselors,” Joan said. “They helped me take my medicine very well.Within five months, I felt very stable and very strong.”

Nearly ten years later, Joan remains a client at AMS. She no longer visits the clinic only for herself, but for her family as well. AMS ensured her 4-year-old son, Dickson, and her 2-year-old daughter, Anita, were born HIV-negative. Joan is just one of 1,000 expectant mothers AMS has cared for since 2013, all of whom delivered HIV-negative children after receiving prenatal care, education and support.  

“I wasn’t scared when I found out I was pregnant with Dickson,” said Joan, who became pregnant four years after her initial diagnosis. “The counselors at AMS had already advised me on the do’s and don’ts of pregnancy, and I felt I had all the support I needed. I was positive my baby would be HIV-negative.”

To ensure such an outcome, AMS provided Joan with education, health care and counseling throughout her entire pregnancy. AMS counselors also enforced the value of proper adherence to her medication, and coached Joan on breastfeeding and child care practices after birth. 

After Dickson was born, Joan returned to AMS for her son's check-ups. He was first tested at six weeks of age, again after 1 year, and once more after 18 months. Every time, Dickson tested negative, as did her second child, Anita, who was born two years later.

“I have joy in my heart because both my babies were born negative,” Joan said. 

Joan’s viral load is now suppressed and she continues to take her anti-retroviral medication regularly. AMS also provides Joan with injectable contraceptives, allowing her to have more control the growth and well-being of her family. Joan’s husband has also become an active patient at AMS: every three months, he visits the clinic to get tested and ensure his HIV-negative status has not changed. 

“I like coming to AMS because of the quality of care and the advice of the health workers,” Joan said. “I get my medicine whenever I need it, and they are never out of stock. I appreciate the love and care of the doctors and the counselors. I am proud to be a client of AMS.”

It is only through partners like you that AMS can help mothers like Joan. Your support is critical to ensuring children are born HIV-negative – and you are playing an integral role in halting the spread of HIV and keeping families safe. For that, we are incredibly grateful. Thank you so much!

 

Joan receives an injectable contraceptive at AMS.
Joan receives an injectable contraceptive at AMS.
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Mother, Jenifer, holding HIV negative son Dathan
Mother, Jenifer, holding HIV negative son Dathan

Since beginning our ANC (antenatal care) program, Alive Medical Services (AMS) has continued to strengthen and grow the program which has now seen over 1,000 expectant mothers in the last five years. Since 2013, AMS saw 1,033 HIV negative babies born to our clients and has successfully eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV for all expectant mothers enrolled in our care. Our highly trained clinicians educate and counsel each mother throughout her entire pregnancy on proper medication adherence, breastfeeding and care after birth.

Below you can hear from two AMS clients on their experience with our ANC program:

Meet Jenifer: (pictured above)

Jenifer discovered AMS’s services through a friend and came to the clinic to get tested. When she found out she was positive, she immediately enrolled in care. Through counseling sessions and health talks provided by AMS, she learned of the ANC program. She is currently with a supportive partner, who is the father of her first born and HIV-negative son, Dathan.

“While I was pregnant, they treated me very well. They gave me advice and always checked me with love. After I gave birth, they tested the baby for the first time and he was negative. Then they tested the second time [six weeks of age] and he was well again. Now, in four months, [18 months of age] he will be tested for the third time and discharged HIV-negative. Alive gives me drugs and I always take them and now I have hope. I want to thank AMS very much. I am happy and alive and now you can see my baby is too.”

Meet Jane: (pictured below)

Jane discovered AMS through a friend who was already enrolled in care. She looked up to her friend who already had two HIV-negative babies and through AMS’ ANC program, she is preparing to give birth again after finding out she was HIV positive. Jane and AMS staff are optimistic that the baby will be HIV-negative.

“At first when I became positive, I was a client somewhere else, but the care was not good and I was not comfortable. My friend told me about Alive and I decided to travel over 200 km from my home for care. Here, the care is good and they treat me with love. Here I learned that having an HIV-negative baby is possible. I used to come every three months for care, but now I travel monthly for my ANC checkups. I decided to travel this far because I know every service is free. When I make a mistake or I come late, the counselors do not judge me. They help me. Now I know I can do anything.”

Elimination of HIV transmission from mothers to children is a massive step towards our vision of seeing a generation free of HIV/AIDS. We want to thank YOU, our donors, for your continued support in our cause. Every penny given goes towards this lifesaving work so we can continue to protect the next generation.    

AMS client, Jane, excitedly awaits her new arrival
AMS client, Jane, excitedly awaits her new arrival

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Sister Beatrice, AMS's head of family planning
Sister Beatrice, AMS's head of family planning

Each Tuesday morning, Alive Medical Service’s designated family planning days, the waiting area fills with clients who one by one trickle into the family planning section of AMS. In one of the family planning consultation rooms, these clients are seen by Sister Beatrice, a senior nurse and head of the family planning unit at AMS. Sister Beatrice sees each client to understand the full scope of her needs. Many women seeking family planning are also combating additional issues, of stigma of seeking family planning, needing to hide their clinic visit from their family, and misunderstanding and unnecessarily fearing certain types of contraception. No matter the issue, Sister Beatrice listens patiently, empathizes, and empowers women to make the choices that are right for them.

Sister Beatrice has been with AMS since its inception in 2007, making her one of the most senior leaders at AMS. Her passion for women’s rights, gender equity, and service has led her to become the head of family planning. In her role, she provides clients with an array of family planning methods: contraceptive pills, injectables, IUDs, implants, and condoms. Using the skills gained from her studies and years of experience, she refers clients to appropriate family planning methods, and when necessary, inserts certain contraceptives with precision and accuracy.

“As a woman, I have a big role to play in guiding other women,” says Sister Beatrice, when asked about the drive behind her work, “I know that when women are protected and supported, entire societies thrive. When we support women in planning for children, then her family life, relationships, and health improve. This is what motivates me to do what I do.”

On this March 8th, we ring in International Women’s Day by celebrating the service of leaders like our Sister Beatrice, the women that they serve, and women around the world who all make powerful contributions to society. AMS intentionally serves women and girls, who are the most at-risk populations for HIV. We at AMS realize that they continue to be affected by HIV at a disproportionate rate, due to risks including teenage pregnancy, forced/commercialized sex, intimate-partner violence, and lack of education and healthcare. However, with dedicated staff including Sister Beatrice, and your support, we are confident that we can serve women’s needs more and more each year. As we celebrate this International Women’s Day, please join us by donating today to our efforts to lift women up and keep them healthy. With your help, women of AMS, in Uganda, and around the world will thrive! 

Sr Beatrice counseling a client and her partner
Sr Beatrice counseling a client and her partner
The women of an AMS income-generation group
The women of an AMS income-generation group

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Smiling women of an income-generation group
Smiling women of an income-generation group

December is a special month for us at Alive Medical Services (AMS) for multiple reasons: reflection, celebration, recommitment, and giving. Importantly, World AIDS Day on December 1st was a reminder of the fight towards eliminating HIV/AIDS. Despite the challenges that remain ahead, we, at the frontlines, recommitted on World AIDS Day to never give up hope.  

During World AIDS Day, AMS reflected on the strength of women. With gender inequality, domestic violence, and unplanned pregnancies impeding this high-risk group’s protection against HIV, women are more important than ever in leading the fight against HIV/AIDS. At AMS, we help women become independent through income-generation groups, support young girls through psychosocial support, and provide menstrual care for schoolgirls with reusable menstrual pads. Importantly, our family planning services and close care of women before, during, and after pregnancy has led to ZERO HIV mother-to-child transmissions since 2013. Your generous donations have been instrumental in these achievements.    

One woman who benefits from AMS is Linda. Having lost her education while young, discovering her HIV-positive status became crushing. She began to suffer from malnutrition, depression, and suicidal ideations, and a separation from her first partner. However, with the encouragement of her family and AMS staff, she gave birth to two HIV-negative children. Finally with a supportive partner, her hope was renewed. She now sells crops for a living and supports her brothers through school. “When I reflect on the past, I am grateful for the life I have now because of the love that AMS treated me with,” she says.  Stories of strong women like Linda reminded us on December 1st of the power of empowering and celebrating women. 

In recommitting to the fight against HIV/AIDS on World AIDS Day, we also recognized and began strategizing to end the challenges that remain. As we formulate our 2017 budget, it is demanding to fund frequent ultrasound, immunization, and community outreach services. These challenges signify why GlobalGiving is so important. We know that with you, we can see an end to these shortcomings in 2017.

We are grateful for GlobalGiving’s multiple opportunities to maximize donations during year-end fundraising. In GlobalGiving UK’s Christmas Giving Campaign, we currently hold a 2,000 GBP prize for having the most in donations out of all competitors. However, this campaign ends December 31th, so the competition is not over. There are additionally 2,500 GBP in prizes available for us to win for having the most number of unique donors, for which we are currently in 2nd place.

During this giving season, please consider donating before December 31st to help women fight HIV/AIDS. A donation of just 6 GBP will provide pregnancy screenings for 3 HIV-positive women. Thank you and we hope you have safe and wonderful holidays as we bring in the New Year! 

 

 

Link to leaderboard 2: https://www.globalgiving.org/leaderboards/year-end-2016/

Link to FB: www.facebook.com/alivemedicalservices

Linda receives medication from a clinical officer
Linda receives medication from a clinical officer
AMS staff wishes you happy holidays and new year!
AMS staff wishes you happy holidays and new year!

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A mother plays with her child in AMS's youth wing
A mother plays with her child in AMS's youth wing

Mothers and babies receive special attention at AMS because we understand that prevention of HIV transmission is key to eradicating HIV worldwide. AMS has continued its efforts in eliminating mother-to-child transmission (EMTCT) through multiple interventions. We care for mothers from before conception to after birth of their baby, providing services including health talks, lab testing, medication, growth monitoring, and external referrals for delivery. In the last 3 months, 96 mothers have attended antenatal care services, 47 babies were discharged as HIV-negative, and 140 children were immunized. Our interventions have been successful, as AMS continues to celebrate 0% mother-to-child transmissions of HIV since 2013! Thank you for your generous support in making this possible!

At AMS we also consider community outreach interventions critical to EMTCT. Backtracking to the community and informing those who cannot access services, ensures that best EMTCT practices are being disseminated widely. Our Community Health Workers achieve this by traveling into the community and educating residents on the importance of attendance, adherence, good breastfeeding practices, and more.

Mary* is one such client who was 18 years old and pregnant when she was connected to AMS through a community outreach in 2015. Learning that AMS services are free was encouraging to her, and she came in for an appointment. Unfortunately, she was overcome with fear to learn that she is HIV-positive during her appointment, and became frightened for her baby’s life. After AMS EMTCT interventions including lab testing, medicine provision, and continuous monitoring of her and her baby, Mary was overjoyed to eventually give birth to a healthy, HIV-negative baby. “The care is really great here. The workers are so attentive and I always get everything I need immediately,” says Mary.

Mary and her healthy baby reminds us of the importance of connecting with our community. However, the last three months have seen a challenge in our community outreach efforts, as we have had a limited budget to afford the transportation, communication materials, testing materials, and other resources needed to conduct regular outreaches. This is a critical challenge that we are looking to address in order to conduct outreaches once a month or at least once a quarter. Will you join us in helping to spread lifesaving information to mothers in our community? Every donation helps tremendously, and we are grateful for your continuous support!

 

 

*The client’s true name has been changed in order to protect her privacy

AMS clinicians monitor the growth of a baby
AMS clinicians monitor the growth of a baby
Mary with her healthy baby after being immunized
Mary with her healthy baby after being immunized

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Organization Information

Alive Medical Services

Location: Kampala - Uganda
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @AMSUganda
Project Leader:
Pasquine Ogunsanya
Founder and Executive Director
Kampala, Uganda
$41,250 raised of $90,000 goal
 
301 donations
$48,750 to go
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