Thousands of Ghanaian children will get a flying start to life as they and their families receive life-saving health services from mothers2mothers (m2m), an African not-for-profit organisation. With funding support from British Airways and Comic Relief, 12 local women living with HIV have been trained and are employed by m2m as “Mentor Mothers”.
Working from two health facilities and in surrounding communities in Ashaiman and Atua, these frontline health workers have recently begun to deliver vital health services, education and psychosocial support to both HIV-positive and -negative women and their families.
m2m’s services are designed to ensure children get the best start in life, which means being born HIV-free and receiving an essential package of early childhood development (ECD) services. Over 11,000 women and children under three are expected to benefit in the next two years.
“We are delighted that Ghana has become the first West African member of the m2m family, and the ninth country in which we are working,” said Frank Beadle de Palomo, m2m’s President and CEO, at a high-level launch event in Accra.
“Our community-led model delivers results—we’ve helped to almost end mother-to-child transmission of HIV for our clients for five years in a row and 97% of those enrolled in our ECD services in 2017 achieved all of their milestones by their first birthday. Thanks to British Airways and Comic Relief, we are confident we can play our part to ensure a healthy, thriving future in Ghana”, he added.
“mothers2mothers is a fantastic example of an organisation that empowers local leaders”
m2m’s launch in Ghana comes as the nation has shown global leadership by becoming the first country to adopt the World Health Organization’s (WHO) and UNICEF’s Nurturing Care For Early Childhood Development framework—a new, globally recognised framework for best practice in ECD. Despite this, Ghana’s youngest citizens still face significant challenges. More than 3,000 new HIV infections were recorded among infants and children in 2017 and over one in four young Ghanaian children lag behind in language, cognitive, physical and socio-emotional development.
m2m will be tackling these challenges by promoting responsive parenting and nurturing care to parents and caregivers of HIV-exposed and other vulnerable young children—addressing factors such as the importance of play, nutrition, and accessing health services.
Ruth Davison, Interim CEO of Comic Relief, said: “mothers2mothers is a fantastic example of an organisation that empowers local leaders to help, educate and elevate communities. I am delighted that our funding partnership with BA has helped m2m bring its vitally important services to Ghana. We are proud to have supported their work over the last 11 years as they have created over 10,000 jobs for women living with HIV and improved the lives of more than 11 million women and young children.”