How are Mother Buddies getting on in Nigeria?


The Mother Buddies programme (also known as IMPACT – IMproving Parent And Child outcomes) started life in Malawi. But you might not know that there are also Mother Buddies working in rural parts of Nigeria. We’ve recently evaluated how the programme is going there, and the results are now in.

Nigeria’s Mother Buddies operate in the same way as in Malawi. These inspiring women are living with HIV themselves, but thanks to ARV treatment and support, they’ve given birth to HIV-free children. Keen to help other mums in their area, they visit vulnerable women during their pregnancy and for six months after birth, providing advice, support and care.

They make eight visits to each of their pregnant clients. These women also receive help with transport to a clinic or hospital, and access to ARV drugs if they are living with HIV.

The impact in numbers…

The Nigeria evaluation compared a group of women who’d had a Mother Buddy with a similar group who hadn’t. Here’s what we found out about Mother Buddy clients:

They get more antenatal care They were 15% more likely to attend four or more antenatal appointments (as recommended by the World Health Organisation).

They give birth more safely There was a 22% increase in births assisted by healthcare professionals, a 13% increase in deliveries at health clinics, and a huge 89% increase in birth plans.

They get more health advice The Mother Buddies group showed a 45% increase in accessing parent and child health counselling and a 62% increase in family planning counselling.

They are better informed We’re very pleased that the women with Mother Buddies showed a 45% increase in their maternal health knowledge.

Dads are more involved We saw a 34% increase in partners going along to antenatal appointments with the women – something that’s quite unusual in rural Nigeria.

And when it comes to HIV…

24% more Mother Buddy clients showed ‘comprehensive’ HIV knowledge compared to the control group.

Over the course of the project, HIV testing in the community increased by 17% overall, and the proportion of people living with HIV taking ARVs increased from 77% to 100%. What is more, although this was a small group, it’s encouraging to see that the transmission rate of HIV reduced from 50% to 0% at the end of the evaluation period!

A story behind the statsGift

So what do all those numbers really mean? This is baby Gift, born HIV-free in Nigeria, even though her parents are both living with HIV. Nancy, the local Mother Buddy, identified this couple while Gift’s mother was pregnant and came alongside them to offer advice, making sure they kept taking their ARV medication. “I gave this family my testimony of living with HIV as a mother,” said Nancy. “Therefore they trusted me.” Gift was born healthy and HIV negative. What a gift!

It’s great to see this evidence of the Mother Buddy approach working so well in Nigeria. More countries in the region are preparing to follow suit – watch this space.

You can check out our evaluation of Malawi’s Mother Buddies here.

Thank you so much for supporting this ground-breaking model of mum-to-mum support. As you can see, it’s making a huge difference. In time, we hope to set up Pregnancy Twinning in Nigeria to support the IMPACT Mother Buddies programme there. In the meantime, you can twin a pregnancy to send this life-changing help to another woman in Malawi.

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