The Milk Powder Program
The Milk Powder Program was established to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child. Due to the confusing use of contradictory government action plans, HIV + mothers are unsure whether it is safe to breastfeed without infecting their child. Different doctors and clinics advise different procedures. Some clinics dispense prophylaxis to both mother and child for the duration of pregnancy and until the child is no longer breastfeeding. Other clinics advise HIV+ mothers to breastfeed for only 6 months--while not introducing any new foods; doing this can cause small lacerations along the intestinal tract- the perfect site for infection through the breastmilk. As long as breastmilk is the primary food source, transmission is unlikely. For the Mufindi District, both of these plans are flawed. Prophylaxis is not always readily available, as government sources are unreliable at best. Also, many women are too sick or undernourished to produce enough breastmilk. Mothers often supplement too early which can cause transmission.
To address these problems, Mufindi Orphans, along with other Foxes' NGO partners, provides milk powder to participating mothers and caregivers. Each mother or caregiver receives milk powder for two years for each child. Every participating mother or caregiver also attends educational seminars on infant nutrition, and are regularly visited by HBC (home-based care) volunteers to check on the health status of both mother and child.