New plan to boost Aids orphan care

A multidisciplinary research team is looking at developing intervention strategies to care for Aids affected children and orphans.

A multidisciplinary research team is looking at developing intervention strategies to care for Aids affected children and orphans.

"The main aim of the project is to improve the social conditions, health, space for personal development and quality of life of vulnerable children and orphans," said Dr Donald Skinner, a member of the research team from the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC).

The five-year, donor funded project also aims to support families, households and communities across Southern Africa coping with the "increased burden" of caring for affected and vulnerable children.

Skinner said the HSRC will together with research partners in the participating countries develop interventions focusing on health, nutrition, psycho-social care and income support.

Programmes will look at the broader ambit of vulnerable children, including those living with sick parents, children being cared for by aged or frail caregivers, and children in households who themselves look after orphaned children.

"Orphans will have suffered the trauma of living with a sick parent and also the emotionally draining experience of living with a dying parent," he said.

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) estimates that there will be 11,2-million orphans by 2010 in the Southern African Development Community, with more than half as a result of Aids.

Of these countries, South Africa has the most Aids orphans, with estimates from 2003 suggesting there were 2,2-million orphans, half of whom had Aids.

(Source: Sapa)

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