$70 milion pledged to help Zimbabwe address growing number of AIDS orphans

Germany, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom on Thursday pledged $70 million to Zimbabwe to help the country address the growing number of children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS-related illnesses, Reuters South Africa reports.

The funding will be jointly administered by UNICEF, nongovernmental organizations and the government to ensure that AIDS orphans have access to services such as education and health care (Reuters South Africa, 2/15).

The $70 million will go toward a five-year, $250 million program aimed at AIDS orphans in Zimbabwe. The program was launched on Thursday under an agreement signed by UNICEF, 21 NGOs and the government and will aim to fund and support an additional 150 community-based groups in the country.

Under the agreement, the NGOs and community-based groups will aim to increase school enrollment among orphans and vulnerable children; support school nutrition programs; increase the number of children with birth certificates; increase access to food, health care, water and sanitation; and prevent abuse and violence aimed at children (UN News Service, 2/15).

UNICEF estimates that about 1.6 million, or one in four, children in Zimbabwe have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS.

"In a complex and difficult environment, this is an outstanding agreement between a diverse group of key institutions," UNICEF Zimbabwe representative Festo Kavishe said (Reuters South Africa, 2/15).

He added, "Combined, we are reaching out to hundreds of thousands of orphans across the country, and we are doing it effectively and cost efficiently" (UN News Service, 2/15).


Kaiser Health NewsThis article was reprinted from khn.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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