Africa’s Orphaned and Vulnerable Generations
Maputo, 30 August 2006- The report Africa's Orphaned and Vulnerable Generations: Children affected by AIDS, which was released at the International AIDS conference in Toronto in August 2006, shows how the AIDS epidemic continues to affect children disproportionately on the continent, leaving many of them orphaned and vulnerable.
Released by UNICEF, UNAIDS and PEPFAR (The US President's Emergency Program for AIDS Relief), the report contains new and improved research on orphans and vulnerable children, including what governments, NGO's, the private sector and the international community can do to better respond.
AIDS is the leading cause of death among adults aged 15-59 in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 12.2 million children aged 0-17 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, making the region home to 80 per cent of all the children in the developing world who have lost a parent to the disease.
Children are experiencing the greatest parental loss in southern Africa, where HIV prevalence rates are highest. Of the 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa where 15 per cent or more of all children were orphans in 2005, seven were in southern Africa.
How children are affected
Children are affected when their communities and the services these communities provide are strained by the consequences of the AIDS pandemic. But, as the report outlines, children are affected in a number of ways:
What can be done
In 2004, a consensus was achieved on a global framework for responding to the growing numbers of orphans and vulnerable children. The Framework for the Protection Care and Support of Orphans and Vulnerable Children Living in a World with HIV and AIDS puts forward five broad action areas:
Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, as well as a number of countries in other regions, are now developing national plans of action for these five areas.
In Mozambique, the National Plan of Action to Combat HIV/AIDS 2005-2009 (known as the PEN II) assigns responsibility for coordinating efforts to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on orphans to the Ministry of Women and Social Action (MMAS). The Government’s policy aims to promote community-based, rather than institutional care for orphaned and other vulnerable children.
In addition, MMAS developed a National Action Plan for Orphaned and Vulnerable Children, 2005-2010, which was approved in 2006, in response to this growing crisis.
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.