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Children and HIV Symposium


Young people who started a savings club as part of the ASPIRES project.

Before the International AIDS Conference, NACOSA attended the #ReachAllChildren symposium Children and HIV: Equity Now! Reaching all Children in the Epidemic,  from July 15-16.

All the presentations from the symposium can be downloaded here – a rich resource of programme and scientific information for those working with children and adolescents.

These were some of the key take-aways reported by NACOSA Prevention Specialist, Bulelwa Ngoma:

Children and HIV

  • Impressive progress towards elimination of HIV in infants (that needs continued investments)
  • but, still high HIV infection rates in mothers, especially young women in Africa
  • Preventing HIV in mothers is a complex challenge – no quick fix, no magic bullets, no one size fits all
  • Major gap is HIV prevention technologies for young women and meeting fertility control needs
  • Preventing HIV in AGYW and stronger SRH services has to be a critical part of our goal for eliminating HIV in children and keeping mothers alive.
  • Framing the debates: equity and priority setting. Who comes first and at what costs
  • Equity vs efficiency, a conflict by design.

Community Action in PMTCT and paediatric HIV Care

  • Community focussed interventions are producing positive results in the fight of HIV among children and adolescents
  • However, we need to have a more defined and clear linkages between community activities and the facility based services that can be traceable using relevant tools
  • Community key stakeholders plays a pivotal role in involving the community participation as well as ensuring sustainability of community activities

Early childhood innovation: evidence based programmes

  • Mostly interventions of implementation are on the supply side, it is important to pay attention on the demand side. Pay attention to what the parent want, then we start to understand the acceptability, feasibility how they want to see their play box.
  • Why ECD is looking at the outcomes for children. The active ingredient of change is the adult intervention. We are not looking individually at the person in isolation but also looking in relationships within family.
  • The unit of the family is really what needs to feature going forward with implementation.
  • The workforce issue if another element of the how.
  • Not a commodity driven intervention but a very service driven field where the staff and professionals are a huge part of the success therefore the workforce is one of the biggest success in the field

Reaching children of key populations with family-centred care

  • Collaborative planning and formalised partnership arrangement (informal to formal)
  • Partnership and coordination investments (resources and capacity building)
  • Designated project champions – accountability and ownership(individual to institutional)
  • Mutual respect and recognition with open and regular communication (relationship building is a process and requires a plan)
  • Record keeping, linkages, referral and coordination (shared tools, protocols and measures for PMTCT impact)

Finding solutions to tomorrow’s problems

  • Integration is possible, but difficult even in the best of situations.
  • A systems approach that incorporates a focus on ECD by many different actors will likely be the most effective approach
  • Creating policy change and an enabling environment is critical tp ;ong term success
  • Short term interventions are feasible in the meantime.

NACOSA calls on all its members to sign the Durban statement on children, adolescents & HIV at