“We can’t end poverty if we fail to save the lives of our world’s mothers.” – Liya Kebede
According to the Foundation for AIDS Research, 70 percent of all people living with AIDS live in sub-Saharan Africa, including 91 percent of the world’s HIV-positive children. One organization called mothers2mothers is dedicated to educating and providing proper healthcare to mothers living with HIV.
Pediatric AIDS is preventable, but nearly 700 children are infected with HIV each day. Most of these children acquire HIV from their mothers during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Up to 40 percent of children born to HIV-positive mothers will contract the virus; however, mothers2mothers hopes to provide numerous opportunities to infected mothers, ranging from education to healthcare. With medical interventions during pregnancy, that percentage of children infected with HIV could shrink to two percent.
It can be difficult getting proper treatment in sub-Saharan Africa, where many medical centers are understaffed or miles from villages. Many women live in fear due to the stigma of HIV and do not get the treatment they need to save their lives or the lives of their children.
Mothers2mothers’s slogan is “Empowered women nurture healthy families.” The organization focuses on empowering and educating women and expecting mothers in the hope to alleviate the stress of HIV and provide proper care. One wing of their organization involves Mentor Mothers, who are mothers living with HIV. Mentor Mothers work alongside doctors and nurses by becoming part of the healthcare team in the health center. Mentor Mothers serve as counselors and confidantes to other mothers living with HIV and educate women on how to protect their children from HIV.
So far, mothers2mothers has discovered that women involved in mothers2mothers are more likely to take antiretroviral drugs that prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV; infants are better protected and are given an early diagnosis test to determine their health status.
Mothers2mothers plans on expanding and hopes to reach even more women than the 1.9 million women they currently serve. Mothers2mothers provides life-saving opportunities to women living with HIV as well as children.
Mothers bring children into this world, and children are the future. By saving the lives of mothers, the world can begin to see a healthier, brighter future that moves out of poverty and disease.
– Alaina Grote
Sources: Mothers2mothers, Aid for Africa