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May 7 is World AIDS Orphans Day
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General News of Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Source: Woyome Foundation for Africa

May 7 is World AIDS Orphans Day

and WOFA ‘saves’ the life of 100 HIV infected children

Accra, 06th May 2008- Wednesday May 7th is World AIDS Orphans Day, a day founded by Albina du Boisrouvray to raise awareness and advocate for the needs of AIDS orphans and vulnerable children.

A statement issued by the Woyome Foundation for Africa (WOFA), an HIV/AIDS Charity Organisation emphasised that “if we are going to adequately respond to the HIV and AIDS crisis, it is critical that we focus greater attention on the children who are being left behind by the pandemic.”

More than 15 million children have been orphaned by AIDS, and out of these, less than 1 in every 10 receives any form of external support. “We need to move beyond prevention and make the needs of children a priority” the statement added.

The number of AIDS orphans worldwide is expected to climb to an estimated 20 to 25 million children by 2010. In addition to the psychological trauma of losing a parent, orphans are less likely to receive healthcare, education and other needed services. They are often threatened by malnutrition, illness and HIV infection, and are easy prey to many forms of exploitation: forced labour, prostitution and child soldiering.

WOFA will today bring hope to hundreds of HIV infected children in Ghana with the announcement that it will be releasing funds for the provision of antiretroviral drugs to hundreds of infected children across the country.

“We have chosen today to make available to the Treatment Centres, funds for a full years supply of antiretroviral drugs and boosters for the children, and this is under the WOFA One-for-One Campaign launched to ensure the Treatment, Therapy and Care of infected children in Ghana and Africa” explains Vitus Nanbigne, WOFA’s Project Coordinator.

About one hundred infected children including many who do not access health centres would be covered under the first phase of the Foundation’s support under the One-for-One Campaign.

Treatment centres that will benefit from the WOFA Support package on World AIDS Orphans Day include the Ridge Hospital, Ketu District Hospital and Korle Bu Teaching Hospital Treatment Centres.

Latest figures from the National AIDS Control Program indicate that there are close to 17,000 infected children in Ghana, with almost 3,000 new child infections every year. Out of this figure, more than 5,000 require ARTs, but less than 400 of them have access to the drugs and boosters.

According to WOFA, the One-for-One Campaign is the result of the realisation that there are hundreds of infected children whose parents even shy away from taking them to the hospital as a result of lack of funds and also the stigmatisation still associated with the virus.

With many of the children also orphaned or their parents unable to take care of themselves, care and support becomes a huge responsibility. Mr. Nanbigne says the One-for-One Campaign, which aims at helping bring back hope to families and keep infected children alive is one of many initiatives and projects being undertaken by the Foundation with the support of other partners.

“The number of children infected by HIV need not rise if we take responsibility to stop further infections by adults and subsequently by children. Whilst scientists are working to develop effective vaccines, particularly pediatric preventions, such as preventing transmission through breast-feeding, people need to be more responsible by avoiding infections” he added.

WOFA is in the forefront of education and practical interventions to prevent new infections. WOFA is also working to sustain children who are already infected, to sustain Orphans and Vulnerable Children in order to prevent them from abuse and the risks of HIV infection.

The statement invited all to join in the fight against HIV/AIDS and support the future of HIV infected children and children orphaned by AIDS. The statement acknowledged the support of all those who have supported the One-for-One Campaign including patrons of the ‘Red Expression’ Painting Exhibition, which saw the sale of paintings by infected children and the management and staff of Shell Ghana.

Background: WOFA is a charity foundation registered in Ghana and is focused on providing care and support for People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), and protection and support for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs). Under its Africa Life Aid Project, the Woyome Foundation for Africa has initiated a number of activities and campaigns to draw attention to the problem; raise funds globally for the care of PLWHAs & OVCs (Orphaned & Vulnerable Children) and behavioural change to end stigmatization. For further information about the Foundation, visit www.wofound.org or www.africalifeaid.org.

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