In South Africa, over a quarter of pregnant women (of all ages) are living with HIV. Fortunately, the country’s rate of mother-to-child transmission of the virus is gradually dropping. Indeed, recent figures show that, in 2011, 2.7% of babies born to HIV-positive mothers contracted the virus at birth or within 6 weeks following their birth, as compared to 8% in 2008.
The solutions we're proposing
In order to reinforce this positive trend and eradicate pediatric HIV/AIDS in South Africa, W4’s field project, mothers2mothers, has implemented its innovative “Mentor Mothers” model, hiring local HIV-positive mothers as mentors for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV.
Mentors Mothers educate and support these women with the aim of broadening their access to life-saving treatment as well as to information on topics such as reproductive health, domestic violence, and safe feeding options for their infants. A key component of Mentor Mothers’ work is to offer women much-needed support and to provide a safe arena in which they can discuss their fears, learn how to cope, and/or find guidance in disclosing their HIV-positive status to their partners and family members.
The “Mentor Mothers” program fills an existing, critical gap in educational and support services available to HIV-positive mothers in South Africa—and it also provides the Mentor Mothers themselves with a vital income. A reliable salary enables these Mentor Mothers to support themselves and their families, while also helping them to gain the respect and confidence of their community members.
The impact of giving
By funding a Mentor Mother’s salary, in part or in full, you can help her to ensure that other HIV-positive mothers, like herself, can give birth and care for their babies in full confidence that they have done the very most to prevent their children from contracting the virus. You will also be contributing to breaking the stigma of HIV by empowering a Mentor Mother to become self-sufficient—and a respected change-maker in the eyes of her community.
Help fight the South African HIV epidemic and give HIV-positive mothers the knowledge and support they need to protect their children!