Finding missing children
Finding missing children
Despite progress, an estimated 5 million children have died of AIDS since the start of the epidemic. The vast majority of these deaths were preventable. Of the current 1.8 million children living with HIV, 48% are not receiving life-saving treatment. These are the missing children in the HIV response.
The impact is devastating. Without treatment, 80% of children living with HIV will die before the age of 5. To us, this is unacceptable. With the Kids to Care model, Aidsfonds is dedicated to find missing children quickly and consistently, and enroll them in HIV care, before it is too late.
40.000 kids to care
For children to live healthily with HIV, it is important to find them. Communities know best where the vulnerable children live. So that is where we start. With the Aidsfonds Kids to Care model we empower communities to find and support children living with HIV. We strengthen the links between communities and health facilities so that children get the care they need.
The specific objective for children in our strategic plan is to ensure that in the coming 3 years 40,000 children living with HIV have access to treatment and care. Herein, community health workers play a crucial link. They educate community members on paediatric HIV. They move from door to door in order to find children and pregnant women living with HIV, and test them either themselves or refer them to the health facility. They help caregivers access HIV treatment for children. The health facility is critical. We train staff to offer child-friendly services and to work closely with community health workers. Lastly, all children need support to adhere to treatment. Aidsfonds facilitates HIV treatment support groups for caregivers and children. In all that we do, removing stigma is key.
Governments to take over
Aidsfonds supports programs in six countries to find missing HIV positive children and bring them to care: Uganda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Mozambique. For the coming years to keep focus and increase the impact of our efforts, this will remain the main geographical scope of Aidsfonds paediatric HIV projects.
We have proven our community-based approach to be effective. Therefore we aim that our model will be up-scaled, first to more districts, and eventually at country level. Aidsfonds advocates for national and local governments to invest in effective community interventions for HIV paediatric care. The ultimate goal is for government to take over and to ensure community system interventions are included in the national paediatric HIV policies and programming.
Zimbabwe: Find, test and treat 4000 missing children
In June 2018, Aidsfonds started a new programme in Zimbabwe, managed by SAfAIDS, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and the Positive Action for Children’s Fund. The main goal of “Find, Test, Treat 4000 Children in Zimbabwe” programme is to identify 4000 HIV infected children, aged 0-9 years as this is the gap in current paediatric HIV response in the country. We use the existing Clinic-Community Collaboration (C3) methodology to promote and strengthen clinic-community based organisations collaboration so that health facilities and communities come together to deliver improved PMTCT and paediatric HIV services. This methodology is firmly grounded in the premise that without a linked community response, the health system, operating in isolation, will not succeed in breaking down the barriers preventing access to ART for children and PMTCT.