Awards: Overall Winner-Health Market Innovations Awards 2012

Most Innovative Health Market Innovation
Category: Changing Behaviour

Most Innovative Health Market Innovation
Sub Category: Consumer Education

Launched in 2001, m2m operates in seven countries including: South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi. The program is funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, UNICEF, and USAID, among others.

mothers2mothers is an NGO that works to prevent mother-to- child transmission of HIV, and sustain the long term health of women and children, by training and employing mothers living with HIV to provide education and support to pregnant women and new mothers. The support is given at various points of services such as prenatal clinics, labor rooms, and postnatal programs through targeted community outreach.

1,000 babies in Africa are born with HIV – compared to one a day in the US and Europe. The program therefore has three goals of: preventing babies from contracting HIV through mother-to-child transmission, ensuring mothers living with HIV and their babies stay healthy by increasing access to life-sustaining medical care and empowering mothers living with HIV to fight stigma in their communities, enabling them to live positive productive lives.

Mentor mothers work side-by-side with doctors and nurses, as paid members of the health care teams, supporting and educating women about how to take care of themselves and their babies. The mothers employed come from the communities in which they work and are selected on basis of (i) being mothers (ii) being HIV positive (iii) having attended PMTCT training and (iv) having disclosed their HIV status, as only those who have disclosed their status have the stamina to speak and mentor others.

Results from the program show that mothers who visited an m2m site were more likely to receive anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) than those who did not. Also, mothers who attended m2m sites were more likely to deliver their babies in health care facilities than their counterparts who did not attend m2m sites.
mother2mothers aims to replicate the model in new countries and to scale up in countries where it currently operates. m2m’s strategic plan is to support the UN led global initiative to reduce the number of new HIV infections among children by 90% and reduce the number of AIDS-related maternal deaths by 50%, by 2015. In the long run, m2m will also diversify its program components.