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Issue #6
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Reaching All Children

January 2017
Over the past two years, the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS (the Coalition), together with 10 other partner organizations,[1] conducted the first global analysis of children of key populations affected by HIV and AIDS.

The findings, some of which are highlighted in the graphic below, are deeply concerning-it is clear that these children are being overlooked and too often excluded from the global response to the epidemic.

In this Issue


Policy & Advocacy

 

Research


Convenings
 

Program Support


Other Updates
Supporting children of key HIV-affected populations effectively requires a holistic, family-centered approach and for stakeholders from across a range of development sectors to work together. Last September, the Coalition convened several advocacy and service delivery organizations representing key populations to work on a roadmap — with the right mix of care, support and advocacy — intended to reach these children. The resulting report, Making the Children of Key Populations a Priority for Equitable Development, provides details on the necessary interventions, which include:
  1. Investing in family-centred HIV services;
  2. Tackling stigma more effectively;
  3. Designing and delivering better care services for the children of key populations;
  4. Targeted inclusion in early childhood development and education programmes; and
  5. Strengthening laws, policies, and procedures so that the children of key populations can access full citizenship, services, and protection.
Much more detail is available in the advocacy briefing, which can be found here. Our hope is that this initial scoping exercise will drive further research, advocacy and, above all, better support for the children of key populations.
 
To stay informed of these and other activities, we encourage you to follow the Coalition on Twitter @childrenandhiv and visit our website. We look forward to a year in which, together, we will better reach all children and adolescents affected by HIV and AIDS.

Sincerely,

Lisa Bohmer and Noreen Huni
Coalition Chair and Vice-Chair

Policy & Advocacy

UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board Meeting

In early December, the UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board met to discuss challenges and opportunities in the fight against HIV and AIDS. As part of the supporting documents, UNAIDS prepared an “Updated Gap Analysis on Pediatric HIV treatment, care and support.”
 
As a result of a diligent effort over the past two years on the part of advocates and other stakeholders, the profile of children was greater than at previous meetings. Throughout the two days of discussions, several interventions were made —including those from Coalition members - to direct attention to the challenges facing children. Positive outcomes include a commitment by UNAIDS to create future progress reports on pediatric care, treatment and support. More information on the meeting is available here.

World AIDS Day Highlights

Last month, on World AIDS Day, Lisa Bohmer and Noreen Huni, the Coalition’s Chair and Vice-Chair respectively, published a Huffington Post article highlighting the unique challenges facing children of key HIV affected populations. Read the article in its entirety here.
 
Babies living with HIV need to be identified and treated as early and quickly as possible – preferably at the point of care during their first post-natal health visit. Coalition member, the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF), in partnership with UNITAID, is helping to pilot an the early infant diagnosis machine, formally unveiled to the public on World AIDS Day by Lesotho’s Queen 'Masenate Mohato Seeiso. Learn more here.
 
On the eve of World AIDS Day, Chip Lyons, EGPAF president published an article in Time. On the incredible progress made in the fight against AIDS in children, Lyons wrote: “If the successful Global Plan was Act I, Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free is Act II…setting an ambitious new framework to end AIDS in children, adolescents and young women once and for all.” The article, in its entirety, can be read here.

Research

Children's Understanding of HIV and Death

New scientific research conducted at the Africa Health Research Institute in South Africa, and led by Coalition member Dr. Tamsen Rochat from the Human Sciences Council, strengthens international evidence that children whose parents have a life-threatening disease such as HIV benefit from family conversations about their illness.
 
In a paper, published in Social Science & Medicine, Dr. Rochat and her colleagues analyzed data on children’s death-related questions following disclosure. Key findings include that:

  • Children living in HIV epidemic communities are exposed to death at young ages;
  • Primary-school aged children understand information on HIV, illness and death;
  • Intervention training successfully prepared mothers to communicate about death;
  • Communication about death did not increase children’s mental health problems;
  • HIV disclosure creates opportunities to communicate with and reassure children.

The paper is available here.

Community Based Organizations' Impact on HIV-Affected Children

A University College London (UCL)/Stellenbosch University team, including Coalition members Professor Lorraine Sherr, Prof Mark Tomlinson and Dr. Lucie Cluver, recently released a report evaluating the effect of community-based organization (CBO) support on the wellbeing of children living in HIV-affected communities.
 
The UCL/Stellenbosch team focused on three countries — Malawi, South Africa and Zambia — evaluating 1,228 children (aged 4 – 13) and their caregivers, attending 34 randomly selected CBOs. This research was undertaken in order to:
  • Identify evidence-based best practices 
  • Understand the psychological wellbeing of children and their caregivers 
  • Learn from experience;
  • Share and generalize knowledge; and
  • Support investment in improving the well-being of children.
The research findings are available here.

Convenings

Engaging Private Funders in Efforts to Reach All Children

The Coalition led a panel discussion at the annual AIDS Philanthropy Summit, hosted by Funders Concerned About AIDS, in Washington, D.C.
 
Our esteemed panel speaking at the FCAA AIDS Philanthropy Summit in Washington, DC.

The session, titled Achieving Equity in the Battle Against HIV & AIDS: Targeting the Children of Key Populations, was facilitated by Coalition Chair, Lisa Bohmer. Panelists included:
  • Joanne Keatley, Centre for Excellence in Transgender Health;
  • Meena Srivastava, USAID;  
  • Corinna Csaky, Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS; and
  • Kate Harrison, Children's Investment Fund Foundation.
AIDSImpact Conference

The AIDSImpact conference is scheduled to take place November 13-15, 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa. Conference registration is now open. Conference organizers are currently accepting abstract submissions. With several sessions focused specifically on children and families, this is an ideal venue to share experience and ensure this vulnerable population receives attention. 

The abstract deadline is July 10, 2017 for submission and 15th September 2017 for late breaking data. Full details on the AIDSImpact website.
 

Program Support

Positive Action Children's Fund Call for Proposals

ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action for Children Fund (PACF) has issued a call for proposals inviting capacity builders to become Preferred Technical Assistance providers. The call for proposals, as well as an overview of PACF’s Technical Assistances (TA) objectives and strategy, can be accessed through the Positive Action online community.
 
If you are already a member of this community, you will be able to access the guidance notes by logging on to your account. If you are not already a member, you can create a new account. Applications can be initiated from the homepage by clicking the “Apply To Be A TA Preferred Partner’” button. Please note: You are strongly encouraged to read the guidance notes before you submit an application.
 
The deadline for submissions is February 21. Questions on the application process should be directed to: positiveactionforchildren@viivhealthcare.com.

Other Updates

Last fall, Coalition members gathered in London at our annual business meeting. Top row, left to right: Lorraine Scherr, Lisa Bohmer, Corinna Csaky, Cecilia Kihara, Catherine Connor, Dr. Karusa Kiragu, Lucie Cluver, Stefan Sengstmann, Dominic Kemps, Florence Anam, Carly Davies. Front row, left to right: Doortje ‘t Hart, Tamar Gabelnick, Tamsen Rochat, Stuart Kean, Nicci Stein.

At the start of 2017, the Coalition grew to include 20 member organisations. We are very pleased to welcome our newest members:
  • Florence Anam, Advocacy and Communication Manager, International Community of Women Living with HIV
  • Anurita Bains, Regional Adviser, HIV/AIDS, East and Southern Africa, UNICEF
  • Cecilia Kihara, HIV Technical Lead, International HIV/AIDS Alliance 
  • Barbara Kalima, Phiri Deputy Chair of the Regional Interagency Task Team on Children and HIV for Eastern and Southern Africa and Senior Regional Advisor, Advocacy and Justice for Children, World Vision International 
  • Stefan Sengstmann, Head of Technical Advice and Quality Assurance, World Vision, Germany 
We look forward to a productive 2017, working not only amongst our members, but also with all of you as we seek to reach all children in affected by HIV and AIDS.

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