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Improving retention of breastfeeding women LWHIV on ART

Grand Prize Winner: The Gateway Health Institute and a collaboration between the SHM Foundation and Zambart

Prize amount: $65,000

Winning Innovation: The Gateway Health Institute’s proposal, SmartParent, targets women living in remote areas and those who are not reached by current government interventions. It aims to provide age-appropriate breastfeeding and nutrition information to mothers and fathers with integrated HIV and ART information to improve adherence of HIV positive mothers on ART and to ultimately prevent MTCT.  

They will use the prize money for a three-pronged approach: they will set up a toll-free helpline to provide mothers with access to information and support; use What3Word technology to assign addresses to mothers so healthcare workers can locate them more easily and avoid losing them in follow up; and build a buddy system where buddies can collect 3-months’ ART supply if the mother cannot.

The stigma associated with being pregnant and living with HIV alongside the difficulties of managing HIV and motherhood can have significant negative psychosocial consequence causing many mothers living with HIV to experience pre- or post-natal depression and social isolation. This can lead to negative birth outcomes, poor retention of women in ART and poor medical adherence. The SHM Foundation and Zambart’s project, Insaka, tackles this using basic and widely available mobile phone technology to connect peers with each other and experts in fields such as nutrition, psychology and paediatrics. The model has been field tested in Mexico, Guatemala, London and South Africa across various populations of people living with HIV. They will use the prize money to adapt the model to the needs of pregnant and breastfeeding women and to train community HIV care providers in the delivery of the intervention in Zambia.

The challenge was launched by Positive Action Challenges through a collaboration with the United Nations’ Every Woman Every Child movement and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation to address the retention of breastfeeding mothers living with HIV on ART. The challenge received inspiring submissions showing innovative integration of technology to address the issue.


Learn more about the winners:

Gateway Health Institute is a South African non-profit organization providing healthcare and community services to disadvantaged areas. They aim to have a positive impact on the health and rights of hard to reach and vulnerable populations through advocacy, community empowerment projects, knowledge management, research and innovative technology. 

Zambart is a Zambian research organisation established in 2004 from a research collaboration between the School of Medicine University of Zambia and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) that spans over 20 years. Their mission is to contribute to global public health policy and practice through the generation of an evidence base by conducting high quality health research in Zambia.

The SHM Foundation works globally to bring about positive social change through projects in the areas of learning and citizenship, health and the arts. The Foundation aims to provide communities and individuals with the practical tools they need to develop innovative solutions. It uses knowledge from the humanities and social sciences to understand human motivation, and draws on academic disciplines, from philosophy to anthropology, to address social challenges.