Plan of action for orphaned and vulnerable children
HIV/AIDS is the most serious threat facing Mozambique. The rate of HIV/AIDS prevalence among adults aged 15-49 has been increasing over the past few years, from 12.2 per cent in 2000 to 16.2 per cent in 2004. AIDS is becoming a major cause of child mortality. In 2006, there are an estimated 99,000 children under 15 living with HIV/AIDS, with approximately 80 per cent below the age of five.
The AIDS pandemic continues to compound the crisis of increasing numbers of orphaned and vulnerable children. It is estimated that there are over 1.6 million orphans in Mozambique, a figure equivalent to approximately 16 per cent of the country’s total child population. Of these children, 380,000 have been orphaned by the AIDS pandemic, representing more than 20 per cent of the total orphaned population. If this trend is not reverted, by 2010 children orphaned by AIDS will reach almost 630,000.
Challenges facing orphaned and vulnerable children
In response to this growing crisis, the Government of Mozambique, with support from UNICEF and other partners, developed a Plan of Action for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children for 2005-2010. The Plan is based on an assessment of the situation of orphaned and vulnerable children conducted in Mozambique in 2004.
The Plan outlines two areas of action in response to the crisis: the strengthening of national capacities and direct support to the most vulnerable children. Four strategic areas were identified for its implementation:
Reaching the most vulnerable children
According to the Plan, vulnerable children are those belonging to any of the following groups:
A comprehensive package of services for children
The Plan recognises that the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children are inter-dependent and that actions need to address them as a whole if they are to make a significant difference in the quality of children’s lives. The plan identifies six basic services- health, education, nutritional and food support, financial support, legal and psycho-social support- to be provided to orphaned and vulnerable children. Because of limited resources and capacity, the Government of Mozambique defines the provision of at least three of these services as the minimum standard for the care of orphaned and vulnerable children in Mozambique.