An African Non – Governmental Organization (NGO), mothers2mothers (m2m) has been officially launched in Ghana.
The said event took place at the Accra Marriott Hotel on February 3, 2020.
Ghana, by showing global leadership in becoming the first country to adopt the global Nurturing Care For Early Childhood Development framework developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is the first West African country that m2m has established its presence with the support of Comic Relief and British Airways, through their Flying Start partnership.
The NGO trains, employs and helps empower local women living with HIV as Mentor Mothers – community healthcare workers who provide services in understaffed health clinics and communities. The Mentor Mothers work in 2 health facilities and surrounding communities in Ashaiman and Atua, in the high – HIV burden Greater Accra and Eastern regions by delivering life – saving health services, education and psychological support to both HIV – positive and negative women and their families.
Frank Beadle de Palomo, President and Chief Executive Officer (C.E.O), m2m said, “It’s all about mothers, infants, families, communities and ultimately, countries…we believe we can make a difference. The policy environment is bright, government’s partners are committed and there is a strong set of local partners that we can both learn from and also work with.”
Technical Specialist and Country Lead, m2m Ghana, Yvonne Prempeh – Ferguson noted that “…with the number of partners seated here today and the overwhelming response we have received…we can count on all of you to ensure that Ghanaian children are born HIV free and they are healthy…”
“Mothers2mothers truly is an African success story...,” Chairman and CEO, British Airways, Alex Cruz said.
Speaking on behalf of Alexander Kodwo Kom Abban, Deputy Minister for Health, Dr. Ernest Asiedu, Head, National Quality Management Unit at the Ministry indicated that “As a nation we have made some progress in our HIV/AIDS battle but more need to be done for us to achieve an HIV - free healthy population. We are therefore very delighted and indeed honoured that mothers2mothers have chosen Ghana as its first country in its expansion in West Africa.”
Community Mentor Mother Team Lead, mothers2mothers Kenya, Wilbroda Awour Akuro recounted when she got pregnant at 23 years and considered abortion as an alternative due her HIV positive status after testing during anti – natal care. Fortunately, a nurse took her to meet Mentor Mothers who taught her HIV was not the end and supported her throughout the pregnancy. In the end, her son was born free from HIV which she admitted was the happiest day of her life.
Interim CEO, Comic Relief, Ruth Davison stressed that “…this is incredibly impactful programme. Here we are saving lives, providing employment, tackling stigma and we are raising the future. And Comic Relief is so proud to stand by your side in doing that.”
Abena Annobea, Director of Human Trafficking Secretariat at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection who spoke on behalf of the Minister, Cynthia Morrison disclosed that “Early childhood care and development programmes provide avenues for investing in the survival and development of children through interventions that provide them and their mothers and care givers with quality healthcare, proper nutrition, social and emotional stability during the early years of life.”
Acting Director General, Ghana AIDS Commission, Mr. Steve Kyeremeh Atuahene emphasized that “…we need results that will really bring an end to mother to child transmission of HIV in the country. As a country, we have also committed ourselves to ensuring that Ghana becomes the first country in West and Central Africa to eliminate mother to child transmission.”
Also present was the British High Commissioner to Ghana, Iain Walker.