Project Insaka is a collaborative initiative of the SHM Foundation and Zambart, aimed at addressing the mental health and wellbeing needs of HIV positive pregnant and feeding mothers in Lusaka, Zambia. “Insaka”, meaning an open place to gather and talk in ChiBemba, will break down the barriers to delivering psychosocial support to WLHIV, in order to improve ART adherence and prevent onward transmission. The Insaka team will tailor the SHM Foundation’s Zumbido Model of peer to peer text message support groups to the needs of Zambian pregnant and feeding mothers living with HIV, building on the successful implementation of the model in South Africa, Mexico, Guatemala and the UK.
Pregnancy is frequently the point at which young women first discover their HIV-status. Such discovery across sub-Saharan Africa remains both highly common in young people and highly stigmatized. The prevalence of HIV among pregnant women in Zambia is estimated at 16% (UNAIDS, 2015). Experiencing stigma during pregnancy, compounded with the difficulties of managing a chronic condition like HIV alongside motherhood, can have negative consequences. Women often deny their condition, and don’t take their medication, or find it difficult to breastfeed their children. This increases the risk of transmitting HIV to their child.
HIV positive pregnant women and feeding mothers need psychosocial support. But stigma surrounding their condition, lack of mental health care and the demands of motherhood prevent them from seeking help. The SHM Foundation and Zambart will overcome these barriers by establishing peer to peer support groups for women living with HIV, via mobile phone. Commencing in 2018, Insaka will be implemented with WLHIV attending antenatal clinics and receiving HIV treatment in Chipata, a major city in Eastern Zambia and the Kanyama region of Zambia’s Lusaka district.
The model enables participants to receive and share daily psychosocial support and information with one another and to interact with professionals in the field. A program of topics and issues to discuss over the course of Insaka will be developed in consultation with local health professionals, community healthcare workers and potential users. Participants can choose to interact with one another anonymously (using pseudonyms) or to share their true identities.
Project Insaka is the winning project of the ViiV Healthcare, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) and United Nations Every Woman, Every Child (EWEC) “Retention of Breastfeeding Mothers Challenge”.
Every Woman, Every Child is a movement launched in 2010 and led by the UN Secretary-General, to intensify commitment and action by governments, the UN, multilaterals, the private sector, and civil society to keep women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health and wellbeing at the heart of development.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to preventing pediatric HIV infection and eliminating pediatric AIDS through research, advocacy, and prevention, care and treatment programs. Founded in 1988, EGPAF supports activities in 19 countries around the world.
ViiV Healthcare Positive Action was created in 1992 as the first pharmaceutical company programme to support communities affected by HIV and AIDS. Positive Action programmes are currently supporting more than 350 partners working in local communities around the world on prevention and support initiatives.