Mothers2Mothers, British Airways empower HIV mothers to fight canker

Accra- Mothers2Mothers, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes healthcare in mothers and babies has empowered some mothers living with HIV to become advocates of stigma.

The 12 mothers identified as ‘Mentor Mothers’ were selected on the basis that they tested HIV positive, had a child between zero and three years, had disclosed their status to at least one relative, had completed Senior High School, and had the ability to advocate a stigma free environment.

The 12 mothers would work at project areas including Ashaiman Poyclinic and Atua Government Hospital in Odumase Krobo in the Eastern Region, as set up by Mothers2Mothers in partnership with British Airways and Comic Relief, an international NGO.

The main objective of the project was to reduce the HIV mother-to-child transmission, as well as identify HIV positive pregnant women and HIV positive lactating mothers to ensure that they exercised caution in order not to transfer the virus to their babies.

They were also charged to conduct group health education sessions for the HIV positive pre and postnatal mothers to enable them to lead healthy lives.

Mr Frank Beadle de Palomo, the Chief Executive Officer of Mothers2Mothers, said the project areas were selected because they were identified as having a high prevalence of mother-to-child HIV transmission, and HIV positive pregnant women who needed support.

The HIV prevalence in Ashaiman for instance is 3.3, which is above the average national adult prevalence of 1.69 per cent, he said.

He said it was the goal of Mothers2Mothers to totally eliminate HIV, give vulnerable children between zero and three years an improved health and wellbeing.

Mr Beadle de Palomo, said the project hoped to reach over 11,000 women and children under three years from 2020 to 2021, reduce HIV infections, and create economic empowerment opportunities for all women with the virus.

In the long-term, it anticipates to promote a healthy, thriving children and families, reduce an HIV-related stigma, and encourage community health workers to lead the way to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr Alex Cruz, the Chief Executive Officer of British Airways, said the health and wellbeing of a family was important and that it was imperative for children to start life in a healthy way, hence their support.

Mr Alexander Kodwo Kom Abban, the Deputy Minister of Health in a statement read on his behalf said in 2010, just one in three pregnant women living with HIV in Ghana received the anti-retroviral treatment required to keep them healthy and to prevent mother to child transmission.

There was much work to be done to prevent 3300 children needlessly acquiring HIV each year, he said, and called for a cooperation to fill the gap of one in five pregnant women not receiving life-saving antiretroviral treatment.

Early childhood development is crucial because it is at this stage that most growth occurs. Ghana has demonstrated commitment to early childhood development through its numerous legal frameworks and policies over the last decade.

This is why we are excited about welcoming mothers2mothers to Ghana. We have seen their impressive impact and scale in other sub-Sahara African countries, all underpinned by their simple yet extremely efficient mentor mother model.

Mr Stephen Kyeremeh Atuahene, the Acting Director General of the Ghana AIDS Commission, said per data collected, effort by Ghana to eliminate mother to child transmission indicates that Ghana has all to achieve an HIV free generation.

He said 98 per cent of pregnant women now attended antenatal care and more than 3,500 healthcare providers especially midwives did testing and prevention of HIV mother to child transmission, which was a positive effort and could eliminate the transmission within the shortest possible time.

Source: Ghana News Agency