Adolescents is the only age group where HIV rates are increasing faster in Africa. The Citizen reports that, according to medical experts, ahead of a regional conference on how to protect children from HIV, HIV and full-blown Aids is also the biggest killer of adolescents in the continent.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that by next year at least 1.8m children will be on treatment from the sexually transmitted disease by next year.
For Tanzania, recent statistics by Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF) indicate that out of the 1.4m people living with HIV, 91,000 of them were children aged O to 14 years. The report says the US-based foundation has been supporting HIV and Aids programmes in Tanzania since 2003/2004 and as of 2017, it had supported 453 health facilities with HIV services integrated with tuberculosis and reproductive health.
The three-day forum, expected to attract 400 participants from 13 countries across the globe, will be organised by the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), a non-profit organisation.
Speaking during a pre-conference session dedicated to the children, Tanzania’s permanent secretary in the Health Ministry Ms Sihaba Nkinga emphasised the role of psychosocial support in well upbringing of children and youth. She said although Tanzania has made significant strides in bringing down child mortality and morbidity, there were great challenges to be addressed in improving the lot for them.
“The challenges facing the children and youth in Tanzania and in the region (Southern Africa Development Community) are enormous”, she said, calling for collective efforts to correct that.The Citizen report