Global Giving Foundation: Support the wellbeing of children with HIV in SA
Report 5: (October 2011)
Created by Hema Somai, Children’s Rights Centre (Global Giving Project Leader)
We are so excited to have finally reprinted 3 000 copies of our English My Living Positively Handbook! Thank you to all the individuals and organisations that gave so selflessly to this project to ensure that children living with HIV and AIDS would have a book they could call their own to help them understand what it means to be HIV-positive. We are also reprinting the English Adult Guide, Helping Children Living with HIV, which is a companion booklet for caregivers and adults living and working with children who are HIV positive, and hope to have these available before the end of October 2011.
Since reprinting the English Handbook in September, we have distributed copies to the Waterberg Welfare Society, a non-profit organization based in the province of Limpopo in South Africa. In Limpopo the HIV-prevalence rate among women attending antenatal clinics (15-49 years) in 2008 was 20.7%. The prevalence rate of children aged 2-14 years was 3.9% in 2008. Almost 1 out of every 5 children in Limpopo has lost one or both biological parents.
The Waterberg Welfare Society is running a HIV clinic in the area of Vaalwater, and wants to start a support group for paediatric HIV patients - which would likely be the first paediatric HIV support group in the Limpopo region. The Managing Director of the Organisation contacted us because she and the clinic counsellors believe that the ‘My Living Positively Handbook’ would be a great platform to start a support group for their Stepping Forward Program. This program is their community outreach program promoting education and testing for HIV. They also have an adult support group, but are eager to start one for children and adolescents. We are very enthusiastic to support and guide Waterberg Welfare Society as they embark on this new project and hope to report on their progress in the coming months. To read more about this organisation and the work they do visit http://www.waterbergwelfaresociety.org.za
Towards the end of September our organisation, Children’s Rights Centre in partnership with the National Department of Health, Child and Youth Directorate and the many other stakeholders who, because of their determination to address the challenges of HIV status disclosure to children, took the first steps to begin formulating National HIV and AIDS Disclosure Guidelines for Children. During 2010 we investigated the issue of HIV and AIDS disclosure, and one of the recommendations from this exercise was the pressing need for the development and implementation of a national framework on disclosure that could serve as a basic guideline for disclosure practice across a variety of contexts. Most commonly, paediatric disclosure issues are addressed as part of healthcare guidelines that deal broadly with treatment, care and support of children living with HIV. However, there is no definitive stand-alone resource dealing exclusively with the challenges of HIV-status disclosure to children of all ages, including adolescents, and which deals with different contexts and specialised considerations for example, disability, abuse, and so on.
We are glad to say that the meeting was a success, and the National Government Departments together with civil society organisations have paved a way forward in terms of the development of these guidelines. A task team has been set up comprising of National Department of Health, Children’s Rights Centre and Witswaterand Paediatric HIV Clinics.
Another exciting development has been the launch of the Clearinghouse for HIV and AIDS disclosure for children. This is a unique worldwide resource centre on HIV and AIDS disclosure materials, resources and information for parents, caregivers and health care professionals working with children around HIV and AIDS disclosure. The clearinghouse also contains examples of tools that illustrate useful practices, links to websites, and other resources that provide further information on issues related to HIV and AIDS disclosure. In addition to this wonderful new website, we have also launched the Disclosure mailing list, which allows us to communicate with people who are interested in learning more about what materials and resources are out there to support the disclosure process. To learn more about the Clearinghouse please visit http://www.hivaidsdisclosure.co.za.