The Mother Buddy scheme run by ACET Uganda involves women, who are living with HIV, providing support for pregnant women.
The Mother Buddies help the women access antenatal care services, and, using mobile phone apps, educate them on how to improve their own health as well as their babies’, including how to prevent mother to child HIV transmission.
This year the successful Mother Buddies project was rolled out into a new area and 25 new ladies were trained and equipped with the necessary tools (e.g. mobile phones).
They were in operation for a short period before being closed during lockdown then, thankfully, there was a slight easing of restrictions and they were able to go into the communities to offer help and support.
The Mother Buddies became a very vital lifeline especially when a night curfew was declared due to COVID19. The Mother Buddies were able to support 37 pregnant women during this period as they were allowed to walk and keep checking on them, and were also able to ensure 11 safe deliveries (at health centres) during the period. This is fantastic news and a point of great celebration!
Living with HIV in a village deep in the Budaka District, Alice did not have the privilege of having someone to walk with her and educate her about her pregnancy and how to take good care of her baby.
With her sixth child already infected with HIV, Alice says meeting a Mother Buddy in her seventh pregnancy saved both her and her baby’s lives!
Alice attended the recommended health visits, delivered her baby at the health facility, and carefully followed the breastfeeding guidelines.
Now with a bouncing baby boy in her hands, Alice couldn’t be more grateful. Her Mother Buddy continues to help Alice with family planning and encouraged her to join the Mama Save group.
Mama Save groups and Papa Camps
The Mama Save groups formed 2 years ago are now made up of around 85 Mother Buddies and their clients. Membership allows mothers quick access to loans to improve their household income and also improve their food security. 54 have been able to start small, income-generating activities which are envisaged to grow and strengthen the economic welfare of the members.
20 Papa Camps in Kitgum each worked with 10 men this year, to support their wives during pregnancy, health visits, delivery, and breastfeeding,
The camps have also played a great role in responding to gender-based violence which increased because of COVID19. They took on the role of mediation between partners in households that had witnessed gender-based violence. This is such a positive, if somewhat unforeseen, outcome!