HIV-positive children will receive family upbringing
Under the support of UNICEF, Ukrainian parents learn to bring up HIV-positive children
Donetsk, 21 October 2010. – Today, a series of trainings for parents, guardians and caregivers who bring up HIV-positive children was completed in Donetsk Oblast. The training was conducted under the technical and methodological support of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Office in Ukraine and the financial support of British Airways within the framework of the Change for Good Programme. About 500 foster parents, guardians and 250 specialists, who provide their social supervision and support, took the training and acquired necessary knowledge and skills.
Ukraine is the country worst affected by HIV/AIDS in Europe. The number of registered positive cases has increased 13 times in the past five years. As of December 2006, 1.46 per cent of the adult population is infected with HIV. Eighty per cent of them are young people. Every year the number of HIV-infected pregnant women increases by 20-30 per cent. HIV prevalence among Ukrainian pregnant women is the highest in European region.
Since 1987 about 2,000 children contracted HIV from their mothers. Another 6,000 children under 18 months of age remain under clinical supervision, waiting for the confirmation of their status HIV status. Most HIV-positive children are born in socially disadvantaged young families and the communities are not ready to provide appropriate support for them. Insufficient knowledge about HIV/AIDS contributes to fear, discrimination and stigmatization. 10 percent of children, born to HIV-positive mothers, are abandoned by their parents. However, during the last years a process of creation of family-type forms of upbringing for HIV-positive children is developing more and more. Therefore, training of specialists of social sphere in provision of social supervision of families, who have taken HIV-positive children for upbringing, is becoming more and more topical.
“The Training programme for foster parents, guardians and caregivers of HIV-positive children”, implemented under the support of UNICEF, provides a high level of knowledge and skills on care and support of HIV-positive children. It helps potential guardians and foster parents to overcome their fear of a child’s disease, and to become more self-confident”, said Nataliya Yurchenko, the facilitator of trainings that took place in Donetsk Oblast.
“We hope that through the implementation of the “Programme” HIV-affected orphans in residential care institutions will be placed under the family-type care, and this will improve their lives considerably”, noted Olena Stryzhak, a consultant for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Office in Ukraine and the Head of the Cherkassy division of the All-Ukrainian Network of PLWH.
This fall, in addition to Donetsk Oblast, trainings for foster parents of HIV-positive children were conducted in Kyiv, AR Crimea, and Odessa, Dnipropetrovsk, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Khmelnytsky and Cherkassy Oblasts within the joint initiative of the UNICEF Ukraine and British Airways. Both potential parents and guardians and people, who had already taken children for upbringing, participated in these trainings. Specialists of social service centres, services for children and health care workers also took part in the trainings. Additionally, the project undertook a comprehensive analysis of Ukrainian legislation and practices in the area of development and support of family-type forms of upbringing 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 care institutions to family-types of upbringing.
Olena Stryzhak, UNICEF Consultant in Ukraine, mob. : 067-7995676, tel.: 0472-321442,
Andriy Haidamashko, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF Ukraine,
About UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 190 countries to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. UNICEF opened its office in Kyiv in 1997.