Who we help

“Each year, millions of women and children die from preventable causes. These are not mere statistics

They are people with names and faces.”

– Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General

Deborah's story

Deborah (left) is from a Southern region in Malawi, where 1 in 7 people are living with HIV and where women are 70 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 received the result no-one wants to hear. HIV positive. She was advised to start treatment straight away.

Years later she got a very different positive result. Pregnant. It was the start of many concerns for Deborah about the future of her child; transmitting HIV from mother to child can have a devastating effect and 50% of children born with HIV do not get to see their 2nd birthday.

Now, meet Emma (right). 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 through getting the right advice and treatment, when she discovered she was living with HIV, her husband refused to be tested and abandoned her and their four 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.

 “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,” Emma explains.

Peer relationships built on trust over the entire course of a family’s pregnancy are at the core of Pregnancy Twinning.The difference that makes? Well… meet Edward, Deborah’s first child whom she gave birth to in a hospital. HIV-free.

Grace's story

It was an unusually grey October afternoon when we had the pleasure of first meeting Grace. The rainy season had started to tiptoe in, and meanwhile a miracle was occurring in one of the local hospitals. A child was being born. Into a world where 34 million people are currently living with HIV. Grace’s mother is one such person among this overwhelming figure – not a statistic, but a real, breathing, talking person.

The danger that faced Grace, and what her mother feared most, was the HIV virus passing from mother to child. 50% of children born with HIV do not make it beyond their 2nd birthday.

But Pregnancy Twinning ensured that Grace’s mother gave birth at the local hospital whilst receiving HIV treatment and care at the critical time. The result? Grace was born HIV-free.

Hidden among a bundle of blankets was the most beautiful baby girl, Grace. The smiles in the room from her mother, father and siblings were enough to tell us that this child really was extraordinary. The birth had gone well, and a few weeks later we received confirmation that Grace was HIV-free!

Mary's story

Mary was 19 years old when she fell pregnant. By this age she had watched as friends and neighbours died during childbirth, had sat with women and grieved with them when they lost their babies. What’s more, she knew she was HIV positive and believed that meant her child would be too. Living 20 miles away from the nearest clinic with no midwife or health visitor to turn to with her fears she knew she needed support.

Support came through a local mum called Eunice. Eunice is a Mother Buddy (Pregnancy Twinning’s feet on the ground) working in Mary’s area. Her role is to provide advice and a listening ear to pregnant women. Thanks to Pregnancy Twinning, Eunice was able to visit Mary regularly and her input had a huge impact. Mary says,

“She taught me how to live without worries about my HIV status during pregnancy. Without the help and advice I got I would have probably delivered at home. I gave birth safely at the hospital to a healthy child. Everyone around me is happy to see me having a happier life.”

Mary’s story doesn’t stop there. Having given birth to a healthy child, Mary was inspired to become a Mother Buddy just like Eunice. She now provides practical guidance, emotional support and counselling to other pregnant women in her community and as a local mother, others trust her and follow her advice. More women can now be supported through Pregnancy Twinning to have a safe, healthy pregnancy and birth, thanks to Mary.

Meet The Mums Series

Since I was supported I have also supported two HIV+ pregnant women in my village – I have shared with them what I was taught. Today if you visit these two women you will see that they have good health and their children were born HIV negative all because of the Pregnancy Twinning intervention.

Mariam

Southern Malawi

My baby was born HIV negative. My husband and I did not know that this was possible, or that an HIV positive mother can breastfeed. This programme needs to continue so that it can reach other pregnant women in this village. Our elders are happy that we are visiting the hospital and that we are being visited here at home.

Janet

Northern Malawi

My husband was also given advice about preparing for delivery, he was able to support me through pregnancy which even benefitted my neighbours! Men in this village who do not support their pregnant wives so my husband was a good role model because of what he learnt.

Ularia

Southern Malawi
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