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Orphans and vulnerable children

Children at schoolThe needs of orphans and vulnerable children are being addressed

South Africa has over 18 million children – more than a third of the population – of whom 60% are living in poverty.

The HIV epidemic has contributed to a rise in the under-five mortality rate, which increased from 65/1,000 in 1990 to 75/1,000 in 2006 (ASSA, 2006). The prevalence of HIV in children under 18 has almost doubled from 1.2% in 2000 to 2.1% in 2006 with prevalence in children under five increasing from 2.2% to 3.6% in the same period.

The epidemic has also resulted in an increase in orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS (OVC). The number of orphans is expected to rise significantly as the epidemic matures and adult AIDS mortality increases. It is estimated that, by 2015, South Africa will have 5.7 million children – a third of all children in the country – who have lost one or both parents (MRC, 2007).

Challenges faced by orphans and vulnerable children
OVC face many challenges from the responsibility of caring for sick and dying parents to a lack of resources to meet basic needs such as food, shelter, education and health care. These challenges can have an adverse impact on children’s psychological and physical well being, school attendance and educational achievement, and development of knowledge, skills and values for constructive participation in society.

Providing care and support
In line with the National HIV & AIDS and STI Strategic Plan for South Africa, 2007-2011, the MSP has provided funds to projects that promote multi-sectoral collaboration and build the capacity of organisations delivering care and support services for OVC. Projects include developing an OVC policy for the Limpopo Department of Health and Social Development and providing OVC care and support in 100 primary schools in Eastern Cape.

The MSP has developed a thematic brief to provide an overview of the challenges and issues facing OVC in South Africa and the MSP projects that aim to address their needs.

Read the full brief on orphans and children affected by HIV and AIDS [PDF 266KB]

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