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Mozambique’s First Lady visits programmes responding to the impact of HIV and AIDS on children

© UNICEF Mozambique/ Patrícia Portela Souza
In Xai-Xai, the First Lady also visited the Day Hospital which is providing children and their parents access to adequate care in collaboration with the paediatric ward of Xai-Xai Hospital and other health units.

Maputo, 28 September 2007- Mozambique’s First Lady, Maria da Luz Dai Guebuza, Patroness of the campaign “Unite for Children. Unite against AIDS” in Mozambique, visited Xai-Xai and Chókwé on 27 and 28 September, to see first hand the progress made in the response to HIV and AIDS among the country’s children.

During her visits, the First Lady was accompanied by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Mozambique Ndolamb Ngokwey, the UNICEF Representative in Mozambique Leila Pakkala, and the UNAIDS Coordinator in Mozambique
Maurício Cysne.

“The First Lady is an active advocate of the cause of children in the country and in the world, and from the start of the campaign, her commitment and her work have raised awareness among policy makers, families and communities about the impact of the AIDS pandemic on children”, said UNICEF Representative Leila Pakkala.

In Xai-Xai, the First Lady visited the Day Hospital which is providing HIV-positive children and their parents access to adequate care in collaboration with the paediatric ward of Xai-Xai Hospital and other health units. The hospital provides medical consultations, anti-retroviral treatment for children and adults, prophylaxis and treatment of opportunist infections, psychological support, nutritional advice and home care.

In the Xai-Xai Health Centre nearby, the First Lady saw the progress that is being made in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, including provision of ante-natal care, distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets for pregnant women and children, vaccination, vitamin A supplements, control of children’s growth, and a special consultation for children at risk, particularly those exposed to or infected with HIV, and those who are malnourished.

Also in Xai-Xai, Maria da Luz Guebuza visited the community radio, which broadcasts awareness programmes to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS among adolescents and youths. She was invited to take part in a radio programme with children, and she had the opportunity to see the activities of a mobile unit, which included song and dance, a film show, and debate on the education of girls and prevention of HIV and AIDS.

In Chókwè, the First Lady visited vulnerable households headed by children, women and old people, particularly those affected by HIV and AIDS. Some of these households are supported by Associations of People Living with HIV and AIDS, such as the Kuvumbana Association, which provides counselling and home-based care and HIV and AIDS prevention programmes for children and young people in schools.

© UNICEF Mozambique/ Patrícia Portela Souza
In Chókwè, the First Lady visited vulnerable households headed by children, women and old people. She speaks to a 16 year-old orphaned girl who has lost her parents, siblings and all close relatives.

She also visited the child rehabilitation centre CRIC, where orphaned and other vulnerable children receive a range of services such as health care, therapy through play, life skills, and psychological and social support so as to facilitate their development and the integration into the community.

The programmes visited in Xai-Xai and Chókwé are part of the efforts of the Government, the United Nations, development partners and civil society to increase and speed up interventions in the four programmatic areas (Four Ps) of the campaign “Unite for Children Unite against AIDS”: Prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Provision of paediatric treatment for children infected by HIV, Prevention of new HIV infections among adolescents and young people, and Protection and support for children affected by HIV and AIDS.

The campaign is part of a global initiative launched by UNICEF, UNAIDS and several partners in October 2005, in order to place children at the centre of the response to HIV and AIDS. It was officially launched in Mozambique by the President of the Republic Armando Guebuza.

Two years into the campaign, significant progress has been achieved in the country as a result of the joint work of the various partners:

  • By late June 2007, 350 centres for preventing mother-to-child transmission had been set up, up from 220 in late 2006. Some 65,296 people, including 4,826 children under the age of 15 are receiving antiretroviral treatment, against only 2,330 children in June 2006.

  • At the start of this year, the HIV awareness programme in schools was expanded to cover all 10 provinces plus Maputo city. By June, 305,438 children in 717 schools were participating, of whom 49 per cent are girls, compared with 45 per cent in 2006, most of them aged between 10 and 14 (the age group known as the Window of Hope).

  • By the end of 2006, about 60.000 orphaned and vulnerable children were benefiting from at least three basic services, and 100,000 were provided with psychological and social support through home visits. By June of this year, a further 45,000 children were benefiting from three basic services, and 10,000 particularly vulnerable children were identified to receive a basic package of materials. The package includes household items, hygiene products, water purification kits, school uniforms and mosquito nets.

 

 
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