Deborah and Emma

Deborah is from a Southern region in Malawi, where 1 in 7 people are living with HIV and where women are 60 times more likely to die during childbirth than in the United Kingdom.

She spends her day drawing water, washing clothes, cooking and doing jobs around the home.

In 2007, after her health started to rapidly deteriorate, Deborah was tested for HIV. She was found to be HIV positive and was advised to start treatment straight away.

When she found out she was pregnant, in 2012, Deborah began to have many concerns about the future of her child, HIV passing from mother to child can have a devastating effect and 50% of children born with HIV do not get to see their 2nd birthday.

For women in Deborah’s situation, there is an urgent need for support, advice and encouragement to remember to take their treatment like ARV medication, because it can reduce the risk of HIV transmitting from mother to child to below 1%

Now, meet Emma. A trained Mother Buddy, Emma is one of Pregnancy Twinning’s feet on the ground. She has four children of her own and lives in a nearby village. She is also HIV positive, and has given birth to HIV-free children. Emma now supports other mothers, like Deborah, in her community. She visits Deborah regularly and has done throughout her pregnancy – providing practical advice, emotional support and counselling to Deborah and her husband.

Her role is critical in preventing complications for both Deborah and Baby.

“The most rewarding thing is the happiness and appreciation of the mothers who have not lost their babies. When I hear these stories I feel so proud,” says Emma.

Emma is a role model in her community, an empowered woman inspiring those around her. What’s more astonishing is that she does this despite the fact that when she discovered she was living with HIV her husband refused to be tested and abandoned her. He left her, to fend for herself and their four children.

“The first thing I do is share my story, that the only reason I am here is because of following advice. Then they are assured and can trust me.”

Peer relationships built on trust and over the entire course of a family’s pregnancy are the essence of Pregnancy Twinning.

We connect you with a mum-to-be and connect her with a peer in her local community, a friendly point of contact who has lived through pregnancy as a HIV positive woman and is trained to give advice and support. The difference that makes? Well…meet Edward, Deborah’s first child whom she gave birth to in a hospital. Edward is HIV-free.