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Each year, more babies are born with HIV in one busy African clinic than in the United States, Canada, and England combined. That's changing, thanks in part to mothers2mothers (m2m), a nonprofit that trains and employs HIV-positive mothers to mentor HIV-positive women who are pregnant or who have just given birth. The program is achieving remarkable results, and now with the help of HP, they can do even more.
Preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child can be as simple as giving a single dose of medicine to a mother during labor, and a dose to her infant shortly after birth. The straightforward treatment can cut the transmission rate almost in half. But in sub-Saharan Africa, many women resist being tested for HIV or keep their condition a secret because they are afraid of discrimination. Their fear keeps them from seeking the medical advice and treatment they need to prevent passing the virus to their newborns.
It's these vulnerable women that are the focus of m2m's programs. Each year they reach out to more than 1.5 million HIV-positive women. They educate them about the importance of testing and treatment, empower them to care for themselves and their babies, and combat the stigma of HIV in their communities.
HP is currently working with m2m to develop an IT infrastructure that will move m2m's paper-based record-keeping systems to a digital system. This will allow the mentor mothers to more easily collect and exchange information, as well as tap into it from across the m2m network of more than 700 sites in nine countries. More accurate and timely information will give m2m the ability to make better decisions and provide better care.
Once the first phase of the project is complete, HP will integrate the use of mobile devices into the system. m2m mentors will be able to use basic mobile phones and other devices to access patient records wherever they are, empowering them to provide the same level of care to women living in remote locations.