More than 1 million children affected by HIV/AIDS in Mozambique
Morrumbala, 16 June 2005 – Mozambique celebrated this year’s Day of the African Child with a mass event in Zambézia province, highlighting the devastating consequences of the HIV/AIDS crisis for children. “The impact of HIV/AIDS on children is still under-estimated,” UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala highlighted in her speech. During the central event in Morrumbala, the Minister for Women and Social Action, Virgília Matabele, launched a national campaign on birth registration, which is supported by UNICEF.
Ms. Pakkala described the different ways of how children and young people are affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic: Almost 220,000 children and young people are themselves living with HIV or AIDS in Mozambique. More than 90,000 of them are younger than 15 years of age, having been infected by their mothers during pregnancy, birth or through breast feeding. Some 325,000 children have lost their mother, father or both parents to AIDS, and more than 500,000 are living with parents or other close family members, who are suffering from AIDS related diseases. “Most of those children are extremely vulnerable. In order to make ends meet, many drop out of school to work or to care for their family,” said Ms. Pakkala.
During the event in Morrumbala, Ms. Pakkala, Minister Matabele and the National Director of Registration and Notary, Manuel Didier Malunga, symbolically registered three children to kick-start the national birth registration campaign. The goal is to provide at least 500,000 children with a birth certificate during the next two months.
“Birth registration is a fundamental right of everybody. It is of utmost importance especially for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS, because it facilitates their access to basic social services and to the inheritance left from their deceased parents,” Ms. Pakkala said.