U.N. Urges Lawmakers Worldwide To Strengthen Policies on Caring for Children Affected by HIV/AIDS
U.N. officials on Wednesday urged lawmakers worldwide to strengthen their policies on caring for children affected by HIV/AIDS, Xinhua/ANDNetwork.com reports. At the 114th Session of Inter-Parliamentary Union, which opened on Sunday in Nairobi, Kenya, U.N. Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa Stephen Lewis said half of all HIV-positive children will die within their first two years if they do not receive treatment, and 80% will die before they reach age five. UNICEF Executive Director Ann Veneman urged lawmakers to address the impact of HIV/AIDS on children and to "put children at the center of the global AIDS agenda where they belong." The conference, which ends Friday, gathers 1,500 lawmakers and senior parliamentary staff from around the world to discuss ways to foster global peace and cooperation (Xinhua/ANDNetwork.com, 5/10).
IRIN News Examines HIV/AIDS, Malnutrition Among Children in Zimbabwe Suburbs
IRIN News on Wednesday examined the interaction between HIV/AIDS and malnutrition among children in Epworth, one of the poorest suburbs of Zimbabwe's capital, Harare. According to New Hope Zimbabwe, a local nongovernmental organization, most of Harare's "street children" come from Epworth, and there are 500 cases of severe malnutrition every week in the suburb, IRIN News reports. NHZ Executive Director Elfas Zadzagomo said the suburb was one of the worst affected by President Robert Mugabe's urban evictions campaign -- called "Operation Murambatsvina," which means "drive out the filth," according to (IRIN News (IRIN News, 5/10). The campaign in 2005 forced many HIV-positive shantytown residents into the countryside, where there is little access to antiretroviral treatment (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 5/11). Infants who are born HIV-positive in Zimbabwe's poor suburbs like Epworth do not survive long because of poverty, malnutrition and limited access to antiretroviral drugs, IRIN News reports. UNICEF promotes community-based programs to treat malnourished children as part of a larger program to assist vulnerable neighborhoods. The agency, however, has not been able to raise even 30% of the $900,000 it needs for such programs in Zimbabwe over two years. "The treatment of severe malnutrition must be a priority intervention in the HIV and AIDS response in Zimbabwe," Festo Kavishe, UNICEF's representative in Zimbabwe, said, adding, "Community-based nutrition care programs are the logical way forward, treating children with severe malnutrition at an earlier stage before complications occur" (IRIN News, 5/10).