- a prevention-of-mother-to-child-transmission story -

This program has been very successful for our mothers: by supporting them through pregnancy, delivery, and breastfeeding, we have seen them giving birth to HIV negative babies.

(Alice Mbithi)

"PEPFAR gives healthy babies"

PEPFAR Kenya gives hope and healthy babies through...

helping HIV positive mothers prevent mother-to-child-transmission of HIV

Elimination of mother-to-child HIV transmission (MTCT) can only be achieved by ensuring that all our HIV infected mothers are diagnosed early, started on antiretroviral therapy (ART) treatment, and encouraged to remain on treatment for the rest of their lives. Pregnant mothers living with HIV who do not start treatment are 30 times more likely to transmit HIV to their unborn babies.


PEPFAR continues to support Kenya to address the challenges of new infant HIV infection, where about a third of new MTCT HIV infections are being attributed to maternal infections in the pregnancy and breastfeeding (PBFW) period, a third are attributed to PBFW dropping off HIV treatment, and another third are attributed to PBFW not being on ART.


Working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the PEPFAR program has been able to ensure that HIV testing is done for all pregnant women coming to health facilities, and those found to be HIV positive are started on ART immediately. HIV exposed infants born to HIV infected mothers also go through a series of early infant diagnosis tests, and if found positive, they are also started on ART immediately.


For optimum care of the infected mother, they must be retained in the continuum of care to ensure that they receive quality care and have better health outcomes, like a sustained viral suppression to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to their infants. The PEPFAR program has supported ‘mentor mothers’ like Alice to walk with the clients as their case managers, helping the HIV positive mothers to navigate any challenges in the continuum of care. Mentor mothers are considered champions who can support the clients by doing home visits, providing adherence counseling, and identifying any barrier to treatment adherence at each clinic visit; they are attached to pregnant and breast-feeding women (PBFW) in the PMTCT program; they walk the journey with mothers from the time they are diagnosed with HIV in pregnancy, through when the baby is born, through breastfeeding, all the way until the baby turns 2 years of age.


By equipping and partnering with mentor mothers like Alice, PEPFAR’s robust PMTCT program in Kenya has been instrumental in helping over 150 thousand babies in Kenya be born HIV free. Alice herself has guided thousands of mothers on a the path to delivering healthy, HIV-free babies. Read on to learn more about her beautiful story…




(Impact statements from interviews with Alice Mbithi in Mombasa, Kenya)


"My name is Alice Mbithi. Through the PEPFAR program, I've worked in BOMU Hospital for the last 11 years as a mentor mother team lead across all BOMU hospital sites, providing services to HIV positive mothers.


Over the past decade I have attended to thousands of mothers like myself, providing psychosocial support to both HIV positive mothers and HIV negative mothers - ensuring that they all take timely health services, and that HIV positive mothers are retained on care, in order to eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV.


Last year at our hospital we supported 692 HIV-positive mothers through PMTCT. Out of that, only four babies turned out to be HIV positive, and they are enrolled and are receiving care and treatment. The other 688 babies were born HIV free.


Through PEPFAR’s support, we have seen our positivity rate drop to 0.9 percent, compared to the national rate, which is 9 percent. We are still working on this, to make sure that we eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV.


Here at BOMU, we are grateful for the continuous PEPFAR support, and we would like PEPFAR to extend similar support to other regions which are not currently PEPFAR supported, to eliminate mother-to-child-transmission of HIV in Kenya.”


- a pepfar Kenya story of hope -