A friend in need

HIV and AIDSChildrenHealthcareNigeria

Ruth and her eight-year-old daughter did not know they were HIV positive until Ruth was tested during her third pregnancy.

‘It was very hard for me – I couldn’t believe it,’ she says. ‘If it were not for the free tests at the clinic I wouldn’t have known our HIV status.’

Ruth is from Nigeria, a country with one of the highest rates of maternal and infant mortality in the world. An added complication for Ruth was the high risk of parent-to-child transmission of HIV.

Giving a helping hand
She was put in touch with Julia, who provided Ruth with information on how HIV might be transmitted before and after birth to her unborn child, and helped her access appropriate treatment for her and her daughter.

Julia is a Mother Buddy, part of a network of community-based volunteers trained by Tearfund in key areas of HIV and maternal and infant health. Mother Buddies are provided with an innovative mobile phone system to assist them in their work. The system provides information, manages antenatal appointments for their mothers and tracks their progress.

As a result of Julia’s involvement, Ruth’s baby was born safely, free from HIV. Ruth and her older daughter are also in good health. ‘With the support of the project I gave birth to an HIV-negative baby, and my daughter and I are now receiving the medical care we need,’ says Ruth.

Passing it on
Ruth has now become a Mother Buddy herself, and is using her own experience and empathy to provide other women with crucial information and support during their pregnancies.

‘With the same passion and zeal I got from my Mother Buddy, I will encourage other expectant mothers with love, concern, prayer and practical medical advice,’ says Ruth.


  • Praise God for the networks of Mother Buddies in three states of Nigeria who are saving the lives of mothers and babies.
  • Pray for Ruth, Julia and the others as they work with vulnerable pregnant women – pray for wisdom and safety.
  • Pray for continued success in the work also being done among fathers to encourage them to play an active role in supporting women throughout their pregnancies.
Cheryl Bannatyne

Cheryl is a copywriter for Tearfund where she gets to share the great stories of lives being transformed around the world.