Children and AIDS


What UNICEF is doing

Elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV (eMTCT)

Paediatric HIV care and treatment

Protection, care and support of most vulnerable children

Prevention among adolescents and young people

Results for children


Protection, care and support of most vulnerable children

© UNICEF/NYHQ2010-1862/Noorani
[NAME CHANGED] Lina, 16, stands behind a curtain in her dormitory at the Ilula Orphanage Programme. She was born HIV-positive and her parents both died of AIDS-related causes when she was four years old.

By 2009, an estimated 2.6 million Tanzanian children were orphans, including 1.3 million who had lost one or both parents as a result of AIDS. Over half of these children are living with grandparents and 30 percent with other relatives, yet these children are still more vulnerable to poverty, sexual abuse and poor nutrition than children who live with both parents.

12 percent of children orphaned by AIDS are estimated to be heading households. By end of 2009, more than 700,000 children had been identified as ‘most vulnerable’ following a criteria and identification process implemented by communities.

Responses to these vulnerable children, however, have emphasised material needs, such as school fees and clothing, and have not addressed the significant protection risks. Most of this support has also missed the most vulnerable youngest children.

What UNICEF is doing

UNICEF works with the government to improve national and community-level responses for most vulnerable children including children affected by AIDS.

UNICEF advocacy and technical expertise is instrumental in ensuring the new National Costed Plan of Action for Most Vulnerable Children (2011–2015) is HIV-sensitive, that it links HIV issues with child protection system development and includes measures to protect the most vulnerable children and their families.

UNICEF is working with the government and donors on a conditional cash transfer system for vulnerable children. This system is being developed as part of a larger social protection approach.

This work is being done under the leadership of the Social Policy unit in the context of the new phase of the Tanzania Social Action Fund (TASAF3) which will kick off in 2012.



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