April 13, 2021
The latest edition of Protecting Global Gains, Abiyamo Alayo: Happy Mother Radio Show Takes Community Outreach Further, describes how “mentor mothers” in Nigeria adapted to keep medicines and supplies flowing despite COVID-19 disruptions. Prior to COVID-19, over 100 mentor mothers, trained and supported by PLAN Foundation, were helping build healthy communities in Nigeria. Through direct community outreach, these mentors helped educate people about vital health issues and connected them to HIV testing, family planning, antenatal care, and more. When COVID-19 struck and lockdowns were enforced, this in-person outreach was halted and fears of unwanted pregnancies and disruptions to HIV/AIDS programming began to mount.
To respond to immediate needs, some mentor mothers quickly mobilized to become community-based distributors, delivering HIV medications and other essential supplies, including contraceptives, directly to their clients’ doorsteps. Then came Happy Mother / Abiyamo Alayo, a weekly hour-long bilingual (Yoruba and English) radio show offering a platform for mentor mothers and community health workers to promote understanding of women’s health and to directly address any listener questions. The work did not stop there: listeners to the radio show who expressed concerns about their health were connected to their closest mentor mother for personalized assistance.
Happy Mother / Abiyamo Alayo has been a hit, reaching communities far beyond the area where mentor mothers operated prior to COVID. The program’s success highlights the importance of client-centered services that connect community health and clinical care for maximum impact.
Follow Protecting Global Gains on social media at @hivpxresearch, @theglobalfight, @Amref_Worldwide, and #ProtectingGlobalGains, and consider amplifying these stories on your own social media. Advocates can also explore recommendations from the Frontline Community Health Workers Coalition and do their part to support the vital work of community health workers. Visit www.protectingglobalgains.org to learn more about how to take action.