The difference a Mother Buddy makes – in numbers


We recently completed a full evaluation of our Mother Buddy programme in Malawi and thought you might like to see the results.

What are Mother Buddies again?

We train up local women in sub-Saharan Africa to become Mother Buddies. 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.

What difference does the programme make?

A full evaluation of the IMPACT Mother Buddy programme was completed in January 2015. It compared a range of indicators between two groups of women – those who had been supported by Mother Buddies, and a control group of similar women. The results are in, and below are some of the findings about women with Mother Buddies.

They get better antenatal care. 61% attended four or more appointments during their last pregnancy, compared to 44% of other local women. They got antenatal care earlier in their pregnancies, and were more likely to see a doctor.

They give birth more safely. They were more likely to have their babies delivered by doctors, and in hospitals rather than at home. Since Mother Buddies have been operating, birth plan usage has increased dramatically from 5% to 67%.

They get HIV treatment. Almost all HIV positive mothers with a Mother Buddy had been given advice about preventing mother to child transmission of HIV, and almost all the HIV positive women were accessing treatment – that’s a 50% improvement.

Their families stay healthier. The proportion of women eating three meals a day was 40% higher among those supported by a Mother Buddy. They were also more likely to have mosquito nets, helping to prevent malaria.

Dads are more involved. 69% of women supported by Mother Buddies were accompanied to antenatal care by their partners (compared to only 54% of other local women).

They are equipped with knowledge. Women with a Mother Buddy knew more about HIV and maternal health, with 80% showing a comprehensive knowledge.

They feel supported. These women cited their Mother Buddy as their main source of emotional and social support. One woman said: “I do not have the worries about my HIV status that I used to. My Mother Buddy has taught me how to live without worries during pregnancy.”

All of this put together means that women supported by our Mother Buddies are more likely to have a safe pregnancy and birth, and a healthy child born free from HIV!

A big thanks to everybody who supports the Mother Buddy programme, whether by sponsoring a Mother Buddy, twinning their pregnancy, or sending a Mother’s or Father’s Day card. As you can see, you’re making a huge difference!

To stay in touch with what our Mother Buddies are doing on the ground, follow us on Twitter or Facebook where we post some of their live updates and photos.

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