Mai Tambu [Mother of Tambu] lives in rural Zimbabwe. She is HIV positive and her first baby died of HIV/AIDS. When she became pregnant with her second child, Mai resolved to do everything she could to have a baby free of HIV.
She participated in a CIDA-funded project to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV, and gave birth to a daughter, Tambu. When Tambu was six months old, she tested HIV negative.
To minimize any further risk of infecting Tambu while breastfeeding, Mai Tambu agreed to participate in a program providing counseling and support to express and heat-treat (EHT) her breast milk. This process kills the virus in the milk but retains the nutritional and anti-infective benefits. On her second birthday, after months of being fed EHT milk, Tambu again tested HIV negative.
Shortly after, her father died of HIV/AIDS-related illness.
While she mourns her two losses, Mai Tambu is comforted, knowing that her efforts to protect this second baby from malnutrition and HIV infection were successful. "I am very happy with this EHT program because it has helped me care for my baby," says Mai Tambu. "My first baby died because I did not know my status."
Improving maternal, newborn and child health and reducing the number of preventable deaths are top priorities for CIDA.
To find out more about this project implemented by a Zimbabwean organization called Zvitambo and the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, consult the project profile in Project Browser - Simple Search, the most complete source of information about CIDA-funded projects.