House Approves Bill To Protect World’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Many of Them Affected by AIDS
The House on Tuesday voted 415-9 to approve a bill (HR 1409) that aims to protect orphans and other vulnerable children in developing countries, many of whom are affected by HIV/AIDS, the Tri-Valley Herald reports. The bill, introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), would establish within USAID a special adviser for orphans and vulnerable children. The adviser would coordinate U.S. assistance to orphans and vulnerable children, including aid to programs that provide basic care and services, treatment for HIV-positive children, psychosocial support and education, as well as programs that provide food at schools, work to abolish school fees and promote inheritance rights for children. The bill had 130 co-sponsors and support from HIV/AIDS organizations. A similar bill, introduced by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), is pending in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Richman, Tri-Valley Herald, 10/19). "If this bill becomes law, it will signal a remarkable new commitment to the world's 2.2 million HIV-infected children," Mark Isaac, vice president of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, said, adding, "Without treatment, most children born with HIV will die by age five, but if reached in time with the right care and medications, their chances of long-term survival improve dramatically" (EGPAF release, 10/18). "I applaud the House for passing this bill, and I call on the Senate to follow suit," Rev. Frank Griswold, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church USA, said, adding, "This bipartisan legislation is an important step in fulfilling our nation's commitment to fighting the global HIV/AIDS pandemic and building a more sustainable future for all God's children" (Global Action for Children release, 10/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.