Panduleni invited us to come and see the work they do at the Mount Sinai Centre. Mount Sinai is a welfare organization that support HIV positive mothers by among other things giving out milk formula and food. This is important because many of the mothers and caretakers can’t afford the milk formula, and breastfeeding puts the baby at great risk of contracting the disease from the mother.
The Mount Sinai Centre was registred in 2005, and gives aid to about 100 babies under the prevention from mother to child transmission of HIV. They have the registration number WO 258, and the volunteers are working hard to raise the money to pay for the milk formula and the food hampers for the children. Also they give counseling to the young mothers on how to care for their babies.
But counseling is not always enough. Many mothers don’t have access to clean water. Without clean water the babies will suffer from diarrhea. To help this the organization is also giving out water ballots to some of the mothers and caretaker.
During labor the mothers are given anti-retroviral drugs and the babies are given a single dose of the drug shortly after delivery. This reduces the transmission of HIV by 50%. The HIV rate with ARV treatment are 15-25% in breastfed babies and 5-15% in nonbreastfed babies.
During our visit we got to meet with the children and their mothers. As always there is a language barrier since not all of the mothers are speaking English, but with the babies the language is universal. I am impressed with how far the organization has come during their 3 first years of operations.