More children living with HIV need access to paediatric care

29 June 2006
More children living with HIV need access to paediatric care

GABORONE – Children living with HIV in Botswana are among the most vulnerable and do not currently have adequate access to specialised care, says the Botswana Network on Ethics, Law and HIV/AIDS (BONELA).

To bring attention to this issue, BONELA is hosting a one day seminar aimed at raising stakeholders’ awareness and highlighting the importance of a children’s rights-based approach to HIV/AIDS. The seminar will be held at Maharaja Conference Centre on Wednesday, 5 July 2006 at 8:30a.m.

There is an alarming prevalence of HIV/AIDS in children. According to UNAIDS/WHO, 14,000 children are living with the virus in Botswana. According to MASA, the national ARV programme, the total number of children on ARV therapy in Botswana is estimated at 5,407 as of April 2006.

BONELA is calling on affected stakeholders to bring children to the forefront of campaigns against HIV/AIDS.

“As a vulnerable sector of the population, children have few opportunities to advocate for themselves when it comes to health care addressing their specific and diverse needs,” says BONELA Director Christine Stegling.

“We hope to engage relevant stake-holders at this forum, which is aimed at placing children’s rights at the centre of any response to HIV/AIDS for young people.”

Representatives from UNICEF’s Unite for children, Unite Against HIV/AIDS Campaign, Botswana-Baylor Children’s Clinical Centre of Excellence, and Childline are among the invited speakers at the event.

BONELA is a Gaborone-based non-governmental organisation working on the ethical, legal and human rights dimensions of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Botswana. BONELA is involved in research, training, advocacy, legal assistance and public education.

For further information, please contact Cynthia Lee, BONELA Media and Advocacy Officer, at 393-2516.