REAL Awards

 {Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH}Almaz Haile, Yeshi Derebew, Jember Alemayehu, and Teberih Tsegay receive 2014 REAL AWARDS.Photo credit: Genaye Eshetu/MSH

Four Ethiopian HIV-positive mothers received 2014 REAL Awards for their outstanding contributions to the fight against HIV, particularly prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT), at a ceremony in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on April 10, 2014. Created by Save the Children and the Frontline Health Workers Coalition, the REAL Awards are designed to develop greater respect and appreciation for health workers and the lifesaving care they provide globally, as well as in the United States. 

Meet Tsegay, Haile, Alemayehu, and Derebrew

After breaking their silence and confronting the stigma faced by people living with HIV in Ethiopia, and envisioning that no child be born with HIV from their town, the four mothers—Teberih Tsegay, Almaz Haile, Jember Alemayehu, and Yeshi Derebew—received training on PMTCT and began working in late 2010 as mother mentors at Korem Town’s health center of Tigray Region.

 {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.

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