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Parents and guardians in the Kherson oblast learn how to rear HIV-positive children with UNICEF support

May 14, 2009, Kherson. The report on the results of trainings for parents, guardians and caregivers, who bring up an HIV-positive child, was presented today. Trainings were conducted under the technical and methodological support of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) office in Ukraine.

Ukraine is the worst affected by HIV/AIDS in Europe. The number of registered positive cases during the last 5 years has increased by 13 times. As of December 2006, 1.46 percent of adult population lived with HIV. Eighty percent of them are young people. Even though shared use of needles by the injecting drug users remains the main way of HIV transmission, this infection rapidly spreads among the general young population through unprotected sex. As a result, more and more children are born with HIV. Every year the number of pregnant HIV-positive women increases by 20-30%. HIV prevalence among Ukrainian pregnant women is the highest in European region.
Since 1987 up to 2,000 children contracted HIV from their mothers. In addition, 6,000 children under 18 months of age remain under clinical supervision, waiting for the confirmation of their status (44 and 148 children correspondingly in the Kherson oblast). The majority of HIV-positive children are born in socially vulnerable, young families, while communities are not ready to provide them with relevant support. The lack of HIV/AIDS knowledge fuels fear, discrimination and stigmatization. Over 10 percent of children, born to HIV-positive mothers, are abandoned by their parents. However, family-based care for HIV-positive children becomes more and more popular in the last years. 17 orphaned children and children deprived of parental care, who live with HIV, have been adopted or taken by foster families. Many children were taken under the guardianship by the families of close relatives. That is why the importance of training of specialists in the social sphere regarding provision of social follow-up of foster families with HIV-positive children continues to grow.

“The programme, implemented with the UNICEF’s support, offers high level of knowledge and skills to care for and to support HIV-positive children; it helps potential guardians and foster parents to overcome their fear of a child’s disease, and to become more confident in themselves”, said Tetiana Sklyarenko, facilitator of Kherson trainings.

“We hope that through the implementation of the Training programme for adoptive parents, guardians and caregivers of HIV-positive children, HIV-affected orphans in residential care institutions, will be placed under the family-type care, and this will improve their lives considerably”, noted Andriy Haidamashko, Child Protection Officer of the UNICEF Country Office in Ukraine.

In addition to the Kherson oblast, trainings for adoptive parents and guardians of HIV-positive children were held in the city of Kyiv, and in Odessa and Cherkassy oblasts. These trainings brought together both potential parents and guardians and those who have already taken children for rearing. The trainings were also attended by the specialists of social service centres, services for children and health care workers. Additionally, the project undertook a comprehensive analysis of Ukrainian legislation and practices in the area of development and support of family-type forms of care for HIV-positive children, deprived of parental care. It is expected that the project will result in new regulatory and legislative proposals and methodological materials to prevent “social orphanage” and to transfer children from residential institutions to family-based care. We expect that in 2009 the trainings in different regions of Ukraine will bring together overall over 300 adoptive parents and 150 specialists to ensure their social follow-up and support. This project became possible with financial support of “British Airways” company.

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For more information, please contact Andriy Haidamashko, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Ukraine, +38-044-254-2450, ahaidamashko@unicef.org

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About UNICEF: United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the global leader in the protection of children’s rights. UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF Ukraine opened its office in Kyiv in 1997. More information about UNICEF Ukraine: www.unicef.org.ua.

 

 
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