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World Education staff publish on impact of maternal mental health on HIV-exposed infants in Zimbabwe

June 11, 2018

A recently published article in the peer-reviewed journal AIDS Care examines how postpartum maternal mental health is associated with cognitive development of HIV-exposed infants in Zimbabwe, presenting the results of a cross-sectional study.

World Education/Bantwana Initiative Zimbabwe Country Director Patience Ndlovu and WEI/Bantwana Health Advisor Ricky Malaba are co-authors on the the article. The study examines the cognitive profiles of infants born to HIV-positive mothers in 30 clinics in two areas of Zimbabwe. The study found that higher maternal depression scores were associated with lower overall infant cognitive scores.

The study was part of the PEPFAR-funded Special Initiative and conducted alongside Bantwana’s Expanded Impact Program (EIP) which coupled demand- and supply-side interventions to increase identification, enrollment, and retention of children and adolescents living with HIV into a continuum of comprehensive care across 17 districts.

Bantwana’s community-based interventions centred on training community cadres to identify children for testing and linking children/adolescents living with HIV to health facilities. Case management, parenting education, and economic strengthening services helped caregivers promote children’s treatment adherence. Clinic-based training, mentorship, and supportive supervision were deployed to build clinical provider capacity in diagnosing and managing pediatric cases, with results-based financing to incentivize attainment of pediatric ART benchmarks.

From 2014-2017, Bantwana’s EIP supported HIV testing for more than 460,000 children; initiated 10,904 children onto ART, and increased HIV positive children enrolled in case management from 28% to 86%; provided 3,697 mothers with parenting education and economic resilience groups; trained 3,189 community health workers to support HIV testing and service linkage and follow-up; trained 217 nurses in comprehensive HIV-service delivery; and provided RBF to 248 clinics.

Click here to watch a short video on the EIP program.