2014 REAL Awards: Four Mother Mentors from Ethiopia Receive Prestigious Health Worker Honors

2014 REAL Awards: Four Mother Mentors from Ethiopia Receive Prestigious Health Worker Honors

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.}Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew, of Korem Town, Ethiopia.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH.

Knowledge is power, so the saying goes.

No one understands that more than Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew, of Korem Town, Ethiopia, who have used their knowledge to save the lives of babies in their community. "Some years back there was no one to teach us, so we gave birth to HIV-positive children. But now we can teach others so no child will be born with the virus," said Jember.

Seeing the toll HIV had taken on their communities—but empowered with knowledge and skills to stop its further spread—the four women began working with the Korem Health Center as Mother Mentors in 2010. They teach HIV-positive pregnant women and their husbands about the steps necessary to keep their babies safe from the virus.

Remarkably, since they began their work three years ago, only one child has been born HIV-positive in Korem Town.

Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is proud to announce that Teberih, Almaz, Jember, and Yeshi are being honored for their work as recipients of the 2014 REAL Awards, given by Save the Children and Frontline Health Workers Coalition. The REAL Awards is a first-of-its-kind global awards program designed to develop greater respect and appreciation for health workers and the lifesaving care they provide in the United States and around the world.

Supported by the MSH-led, PEPFAR-funded USAID program, Ethiopia Network for HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care, & Support (ENHAT-CS), the four mother mentors have gone above and beyond their scope of work, not just running the clinic’s peer education sessions, but following up with mothers in their homes and working with the district health office to ensure that all HIV-positive pregnant women in their town receive proper care to prevent transmission of the virus to their babies.

They have worked with over 100 pregnant women and many of their husbands.

The honorees were announced January 13, at a ceremony in Laguna Niguel, California. The winners hail from the US and 12 other countries around the globe.  As four of the ten honorees in the Community Health Worker category, the Korem mother mentors will receive a trophy at a ceremony held in Ethiopia in mid-April. MSH congratulates Teberih, Almaz, Jember, and Yeshi, and all of the REAL Awards recipients, and wishes them continued success in their work to save lives.

Walter "Bud" Crandall is Chief of Party for the Ethiopia Network for HIV/AIDS Treatment, Care and Support (ENHAT-CS) Program.

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