Mothers2mothers really is out to save the world. They are an NGO that works to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In other words, they want to ensure that women who have HIV and are pregnant receive the proper treatments to prevent genetic transmission. By providing care that is often denied, m2m is empowering women and making a difference.
In 2012, m2m received the Henry R. Kravis Prize in Leadership. The organization has seen stunning success in its HIV treatment clinics in sub-Sahara Africa. With treatment clinics in over 7 countries, m2m has reached over 1 million women.
Marie-Josée Kravis is the selection committee chair for the Kravis Prize, and is also a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. She has recognized the importance of programs like m2m, especially in underdeveloped nations.
In an interview with m2m Mentor Mother Tlalane Phafoli, Marie-Josée Kravis points out the simplicity of the solution to transmission of HIV. “The treatment is relatively simple, and people don’t seem to understand you can give the pregnant woman a pill,” she says.
“Usually what happens is the mother unknowingly will transmit their virus to the child during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or while they are breastfeeding,” Phafoli explains. “mothers2mothers makes sure that women who are pregnant and HIV positive, once she is given that pill, that treatment, she adheres to the treatment.”
Phafoli goes on to explain to Marie Josée Kravis that this type of program really begins and spreads from the community level. In underdeveloped nations, it has to be a real grassroots movement or mothers won’t even realize they should get tested.
“One of the great injustices of our time is that every day, 1,000 babies in Africa are born with HIV—compared to one a day in the US and Europe,” reads the m2m website. “This is entirely preventable, and mothers2mothers is part of the solution.”
About 98% of babies born in resource-rich countries are HIV-free, as compared to the 40% who are infected at birth in resource-poor countries like Africa. Organizations like m2m stand to make a real change in the world.