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Embracing Community Networks to Ensure No Child Acquires HIV: The Kenya Mentor Mother Program (KMMP)

Nairobi, Kenya - 14th March 2024 - The Ministry of Health, in partnership with NASCOP, County Health Teams, Kenya Red Cross, and with support from the Global Fund, is currently hosting the inaugural KMMP Annual Forums for engaged Expert and Mentor Mothers from various health facilities across the 47 counties. These forums aim to facilitate cross-learning and feedback on the implementation of PMTCT in the community.

Kenya is steadfast in its commitment to ending AIDS in Children by 2027 as part of its goal to achieve universal health coverage. To realize this commitment, the Ministry of Health is implementing the Kenya Plan to End AIDS in Children through the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (eMTCT) of HIV/Syphilis/Hep B and Tuberculosis. Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission
(eMTCT) leverages existing community structures, fostering community ownership and participation. 

The recent launch of the Community Health Promoters Universal Health Coverage (CHP/UHC) plan, with over 100,000 kitted and trained community health promoters, places communities at the forefront of the HIV response, including Mentor Mothers. The KMMP engages women living with HIV to address gaps in the Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV & AIDS/Syphilis/Hepatitis B by supporting the provision of maternal, newborn, and child health services. 

 A Mentor Mother, trained for 10 days, provides peer education and psychosocial support to HIV-infected pregnant and breastfeeding women and their families. They play a crucial role in client support for treatment adherence, disclosure, and ensuring continuity of care for 24 months.

The pivotal role of Mentor Mothers and Expert Mothers in the care and retention of HIV mothers and their infants improves outcomes by over 75% compared to when mothers lack peer support. With support from the Ministry of Health, Global Fund NFM3, NASCOP, and Kenya Red Cross, 670 Mentor Mothers and 700 Expert Mothers have been hired, trained, and remunerated across the country's 47 counties at both facility and community levels. 

 Madam Esther Papa, PMTCT Technical Advisor and KMMP Lead at NASCOP, underscores the importance of optimizing Mentor and Expert Mothers as community health promoters in decentralizing eMTCT best practices. Mentor Mothers are pivotal in ending AIDS in children through their essential support services at facility and community levels. Esther emphasizes the need for women to take the lead in achieving the elimination of vertical transmission of HIV, Syphilis, and Hepatitis B.

Story by 

Rodah Nisa Masibo Communications -NASCOP/MOH