HIV/AIDS ‘Unravelling Decades of Gains’ in Child Welfare, Annan States
In a new UNICEF report released in advance of a special U.N. General Assembly on children scheduled for September, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan states that HIV/AIDS has proven "catastrophic" for the world's children and is "unravelling decades of gains" in child welfare, the Guardian reports. At the 1990 World Summit for Children, 71 heads of state pledged a "firm commitment" to put the interests of children first, but that goal has been "elusive," according to the report. The AIDS epidemic has "gradually shift[ed]" to affect the "young, poor and illiterate," especially young girls, the report warns. Ninety-five percent of AIDS orphans, a a group specifically addressed in the report, live in Africa, where incomes have continued to drop, the level of immunizations has decreased, the number of malnourished children has increased and "major child-killers" such as malaria and cholera have reemerged. "Faced with social stigma, isolation and discrimination, and deprived of basic care and financial resources, AIDS orphans are less likely to be immunized, more likely to be malnourished, less likely to go to school and more vulnerable to abuse and exploitation," the report states. A "first call" for the children of Africa will be at the "[t]op of the agenda" at the September meeting, which will include heads of state from France, Canada, Mexico, Algeria and Mozambique (Brittain, Guardian, 6/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.