KCs & maternal health
HIV-positive women are four to eight times more likely to die during childbirth than HIV-negative women, yet the link between HIV and maternal health remains poorly understood and largely unaddressed.
Having a poor immune system leads to a higher risks of prenatal and childbirth complications and increases the chances of dying from indirect causes during and after pregnancy such as TB and malaria.
In the high-prevalence setting of sub- Saharan Africa, HIV has become the leading cause of maternal mortality. With the generous support of UKAID, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and its linking organisations ran a project to reduce HIV-related maternal mortality and improve health outcomes for HIV positive mothers in Kenya, Zambia, Uganda and Southern Sudan.
The project, which ran between 2010 and 2011, supported civil society in each country to mobilize community action in order to strengthen advocacy and policy on maternal health, including advocating for PMTCT, thereby improving the health of HIV positive women.
By documenting individual stories, issues and health campaigns relating to maternal health KCs played a major part in the project. Their work has been published in national media and has significantly contributed to the project’s goal of increasing community and civil society understanding of the links between HIV and maternal mortality
In Kenya, Internews, an international NGO that fosters independent media and access to information, trained KCS on maternal health and HIV reporting. In Uganda, PANOS, an international media and communication NGO, trained KCs from groups most at risk to HIV on how to document maternal health and money for health.