mothers2mothers PMTCT Program

Category 2

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The mothers2mothers program is a scalable and effective solution to the unique challenges of PMTCT service delivery, with the ultimate aim of increasing uptake of and adherence to PMTCT interventions and promoting maternal and infant health. The model involves recruiting, training, employing, and supporting mothers living with HIV as Mentor Mothers to support, educate, and inspire HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers to access and adhere to PMTCT interventions and prevent HIV transmission to their babies.

Mentor Mothers are integrated at the facility level as professional members of the health care team, providing group health education, one-on-one and couples education, facilitating support groups, and conducting referrals. Mentor Mothers effectively position PMTCT as an entry point for the entire family, by encouraging clients to invite their partners and children into care and to access comprehensive HIV and maternal-child health (MCH) services. As more efficacious antiretroviral therapy (ART) regimens are rolled out within PMTCT programs, this support becomes exceptionally important, ensuring that clients are encouraged to access and adhere to treatment, despite persistent challenges created by culture, stigma, and discrimination. This is also important as education-intensive guidelines for infant feeding, early infant diagnosis (EID), and treatment become available, providing additional challenges, including adherence and ongoing follow-up.

mothers2mothers now provides peer support services at 670 health facilities across seven countries, and the programs currently have more than 230,000 client interactions per month.

Goal of the Practice
  • Creating an effective, sustainable model of care that provides education and support for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV
  • Preventing babies from contracting HIV through mother-to-child transmission
  • Keeping mothers and babies living with HIV alive and healthy by increasing their ability to access health-sustaining medical care
  • Empowering mothers living with HIV, enabling them to fight stigma in their communities and to live positive and productive lives
Core Components
  • Peer education and support program
  • Health system strengthening through the promotion of PMTCT guidelines and task shifting from doctors and nurses to appropriately trained health care personnel
  • Employment of peer educators
  • Access existing health care services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT)
  • Access existing health care services to promote uptake of antiretroviral therapy for mothers eligible for treatment
  • Follow up with babies for early infant diagnosis
  • Follow up with mothers for comprehensive PMTCT services
  • Enlist male partners in HIV care through couples education and counseling
Noteworthy Results
  • m2m participants had greater psychosocial well-being, greater use of PMTCT services, and better PMTCT outcomes than non-participants
  • m2m participants disclosed their HIV status to a partner, family member, or friend
  • m2m keeps women linked to health facilities
Lessons Learned
  • m2m plays an important role in providing a continuum of care for HIV-positive women and infants
  • Postpartum participants had more positive changes than pregnant participants, suggesting that with more contacts and time with the program, there is greater impact
  • m2m services are scalable and replicable. In 2010, program activities were being delivered at 670 health care facilities in seven countries. In 2009, 300,000 HIV-positive pregnant women and new mothers were enrolled in the program
Focus Areas
Counseling and TestingGender
Implemented By
mothers2mothers (m2m)
Participating Organization
Provincial, district, and municipal initiatives
Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia
Clinic/Health facility
Target Population
  • Adults (over 18)
  • Adolescents (ages 13-17)
  • Infants (newborn to 24 months)
  • Females
  • People Living with HIV (PLWH)
> 50000
Implementation Years
01/2001 - ongoing