The Mentor Mother model expands in Uganda
mothers2mothers (m2m) trains and employs women living with HIV as frontline community health workers – Mentor Mothers – in severely underserved communities. These Mentor Mothers work both at health facilities and door-to-door in their communities to deliver life-changing services to women, children, adolescents, and entire families. They enable access to healthcare, enhance retention in care and ensure adherence to treatment, with a focus on preventing HIV infection and related illnesses. Building on the accomplishments of a first grant, we’re renewing our support to allow mothers2mothers to further expand its Mentor Mother model and extend its reach in east-central Uganda. This will see m2m increase the coverage of its health services to address maternal and child’s health, early learning and disabilities, and reproductive and adolescent health.
Uganda’s maternal mortality rate has consistently been one of the highest in the world, with one woman in every 49 dying from maternal complications related to pregnancy or delivery.
The country’s overburdened health system contributes to unacceptably high treatment dropout rates and undermines timely and effective disease management. In 2018 alone, nearly 30,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses in the country, where a further almost 50,000 people acquire HIV every year.
mothers2mothers (m2m) trains and employs local women living with HIV as Mentor Mothers – frontline health workers who educate and support women and their families to access healthcare, start any treatment they need and stay in care.
Since launching in Uganda in 2010, mothers2mothers has tailored its intervention to match local realities. The original focus on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV has thus evolved into a more integrated, family-centred approach. Mentor Mothers engage women, their partners and families in health centres, households and communities on important health issues to ensure they are equipped with the information they need to stay healthy, and encourage them to test for HIV. Their services span pregnancy, breastfeeding and early childhood development to ensure the baby is born, and stays, HIV-free, and grows into a healthy child. For women who test positive, Mentor Mothers support them to start and adhere to treatment.
m2m also trains and employs adolescent peer educators – Peer Mentors - to reach out to and support adolescent girls and young women so they have access to sexual and reproductive health services, with a particular focus on reducing HIV infections and related illnesses.
We’re renewing our support to build on the accomplishments of a first grant, with the aim of expanding the scale and reach of the Mentor Mother’ model in east-central Uganda.
In the first year, m2m aims to reach 167,000 new women and family members who have not received medical care or who have stopped treatment, as follows:
- Children aged 0-9: 60,434
- Adolescent boys and girls and young women and men (aged 10-24): 64,100
- Women of reproductive age (aged 15-49): 42,292
The projections for 2021 and 2022 will be based on the first year’s achievements, with the ultimate objective of reaching new geographical areas.
m2m’s highly effective and innovative intervention in Uganda is based on a model that unlocks the power of African women to transform the health of families through peer mentorship and role modelling.
In response to the evolving challenges of ending the AIDS pandemic, m2m is gradually expanding the scale and scope of its programmes to combat the causes and effects of HIV/AIDS in a more comprehensive manner. The Mentor Mother model is proving incredibly flexible and robust to this end and m2m’s approach is yielding impressive outcomes in terms of enhanced reach, greater client follow-up and retention in care. m2m is in addition providing increased technical assistance services to governments to drive scale, and its model has so far been adopted as national policy in Kenya and South Africa.