Striving to eliminate the transmission of HIV from mothers to babies in Kenya
On our recent trip to Kenya with Comic Relief we spent time at a number of different projects. Today I am sharing a visit to one of the busiest hospitals in Kisumu, Kenya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referal Hospital (JoTRH) where mothers2mothers works. mothers2mothers uses a simple and effective model to prevent the spread of HIV from mothers to babies. They employ, train and empower mothers living with HIV, who work as Mentor Mothers in health centres and provide lifesaving education and one on one support to HIV-positive women and new mothers. The transmission of the HIV virus from mother to baby is preventable and with the right support, rates can be reduced from 45% to about 5%.
Dorcas, who you see on the left is a 'Mentor Mother', a HIV positive mother who has been trained to provide peer education and support to other women with HIV to reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to their babies. The transmission of the HIV virus from mother to baby is preventable and with the right support, rates can be reduced from 45% to about 5%.
m2m's Mentor Mothers are uniquely positioned to complement clinical and NACS interventions at this hospital that we visited, seamlessly blending in with to the hospital staff we could tell that they were a much needed and integral part of mothers and babies care. NACS is an approach which includes nutritional assessment, counselling and support, addressing the vunerability of mothers and babies during the 1000 days between conception and a child's second birthday. This time frame has the potential to have the largest positive impact on a child's nutrition and is critical for a baby with a HIV-positive mother.
In May 2014, Comic Relief awarded a grant for £966,849 over three years to mothers2mothers to implement a project to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV. The money raised since the first Red Nose Day has helped over 3 million people affected by HIV. That's a mind blowing figure but there's still work good work to be done.
Please consider supporting Red Nose Day this year, from buying a Red Nose to doing something funny for money or joining Team Honk at the Red Nose Day Danceathon on Sunday 8th March, details on how to join us to dance about to save lives can be found here. Alternatively you can sponsor my dancing efforts here.
Finally a huge thank you to Betfair, for sponsoring me a super £150 for taking part in the Danceathon, a jolly good show I'm sure you'll agree!