PHILANI UCLA RESEARCH PROJECT
In 2008 a partnership was established between Philani, UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles, USA) and Stellenbosch University (Stellenbosch, South Africa), to evaluate the Philani Outreach and Mother-to-be Programmes. This evaluation is attempting to establish the effectiveness of the Outreach and the Mother to Be homebased intervention programmes with a particular emphasis on HIV, TB, nutrition and alcohol abuse.
This research project targets twenty-four geographical areas within Khayelitsha and Mfuleni, two townships located on the outskirts of Cape Town. The neighbourhoods have been randomly assigned to twelve control and twelve intervention areas. Pregnant women in all areas are recruited to participate in the study.
This five year project started in late 2008 with the recruitment of thirty women from these communities to be “Mentor Mothers”. They were trained in areas of nutrition, newborn feeding methods, HIV, TB, alcohol abuse and smoking, growth monitoring and care of low-birth weight and malnourished children, as well as in counselling skills.
In May 2009, the newly-trained Mentor Mothers began visiting pregnant women recruited for the study in their homes in the designated intervention neighbourhoods. The Mentor Mothers visit with each pregnant woman numerous times before and after the birth of their child (children), and discuss a range of topics from HIV, TB, and alcohol-use during pregnancy to exclusive breastfeeding, immunisations, and introducing solid foods. The goal is to provide mothers with support and knowledge to help them raise healthy children. The research is fully funded by the National Institute for Health, USA.