Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) Support Programme

Community Health Workers help Prevent Mother To Child Transmission of HIV (PMTCT), while helping children living with HIV and their carers access HIV treatment (antiretroviral therapy, or ART).

The Context

With appropriate medical treatment and nutrition, 98% of HIV positive women will give birth to children who are HIV negative. The prospects of children who are born with HIV are potentially very bright, but only if they are diagnosed and treated.

Desperately under resourced healthcare systems in sub Saharan Africa often struggle to provide vital outreach, education and patient advocate roles. We have developed a successful holistic model which continues to reduce the number of children born with HIV, ensures they stay HIV free, and that improves health outcomes for children who do have HIV.

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  • Help the Department of Health take over the project
  • PMTCT will save an estimated 10,000 children’s lives.
  • 98% of pregnant women in the project areas are being tested for HIV
  • 100% of women who test positive receive appropriate care and support
  • Only 2% of babies born to HIV positive mothers in The Eastern Cape will contract the disease, and that these mothers and babies are supported and have access to treatment so the family thrives.


  • We care for all children living with HIV in the project area – around 5,000 children at the start of the project.
  • We employ three project coordinators (who are also qualified nurses), three outreach nurses and 98 Community Health Workers.
  • We meet regularly with the Department of Health and discuss handing the project over. 
  • CHW follow up with mothers who drop out of treatment, support them practically and emotionally and, taking over tasks to allow clinical staff more time to work with patients.
  • HIV stigma stops people getting tested or accessing life-saving treatment. Addressing the issue of stigma in the community is a fundamental part of our holistic ART support programme.
  • Pregnant women with supportive partners are far more likely to access ART, so we educate men about HIV and ART.
  • Outreach work in schools, clinics and communities ensures adolescents are aware of Sexually Transmitted Infections, HIV and healthy living, reducing new infections.
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Progress to Date

  • We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Health
  • 98% of pregnant women in the project areas are being tested for HIV
  • 100% of women who test positive receive appropriate care and support
  • We have established over 5,000 new food gardens to improve the nutrition of HIV-affected families.

Location: 48 clinics in Nelson Mandela Bay Metropole, Kirkwood and Kareedouw in Sarah Baartman District, Queenstown and Whittlesea in Chris Hani district and Port St Johns and Nyandeni in O R Tambo district in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Funder: Medicor Foundation and other generous major donors and charitable foundations
Partner: The Small Projects Foundation
Dates: From 2004 to present (In September 2015, with funding from Adventure Philanthropy, a new pilot was launched to improve training and equipment for Community Health Workers in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropole.)
Status of Project: Graduating and transitioning

Between 30% and 45% of HIV positive women who are not accessing treatment will pass the virus on to their babies.


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The Atlantic Philanthropy Fellows visited the region where our Mentor Mothers work. This is what one woman thought about the #healthcare system in this region #SouthAfrica…

We went out with a team of Mentor mothers to do a 6 month check-up with one of the new mum's. Our mentor mothers check up on children's weight, on their immunization and other health concerns new mothers have for their children and their selves.…

Our mentor mothers journey over hills and down tracks to reach their clients. These journeys are difficult, but think of how much more difficult it would be for a pregnant mother? #healthcare #maternalhealth