Since COVID-19 hit the African continent, mothers2mothers (m2m) has rapidly adapted our services to keep our frontline staff and their clients safe and healthy, while continuing to provide them with health services and support, and reach even more clients. As part of our response, m2m developed the Virtual Mentor Mother Platform (VMMP), a new WhatsApp-based interactive tool that enables users to access health information and service referrals on COVID-19 and other health topics in 30+ languages.
Due to the transmission risks of COVID-19 and travel restrictions imposed by national lock downs, the nearly 1,700 women living with HIV we employ as frontline health workers, called Mentor Mothers, are not always able to serve their clients in person. The over one million women and families who depend on our vital work live in communities that are at disproportionate risk to the pandemic due to fragile health systems and a high prevalence of HIV and other comorbidities such as TB and diabetes.
To make sure our clients have easy access to vital health information at any time, where ever they are located, and to reach even more people at this critical time, we have leveraged the power of technology to intensify our client outreach. The VMMP makes it possible for anyone with access to a smartphone and the internet to access on demand health education and risk-reduction information, and request a referral for health services when needed.
The Virtual Mentor Mother Platform will roll out in several phases. Phase One is COVID-19 focused, while Phase Two will include information about HIV, reproductive health, NCDs, early childhood development, and other critical health issues. Content tailored specifically for adolescents is also being developed, and additional interactive services will be built into the platform. This project is designed to help achieve Universal Health Coverage and make sure no one is left behind.