Estimated worldwide HIV infections: 63 113147 at noon on Wednesday June 22 2005
Malawi has launched a comprehensive welfare plan to mitigate the impact of poverty and HIV/Aids on its estimated one million orphans.
The National Plan of Action (NPA) for Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), launched by President Bingu wa Mutharika last week, provides a common platform for the government, NGOs and donors to address the myriad problems facing children.
‘HIV/Aids and chronic poverty are the major challenges facing children in Malawi.
[These have] been exacerbated by the recurring food crisis,” said the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) project officer for OVC, Mayke Huijbregts. According to Unicef, the number of OVC is likely to increase by 50% by 2010.
Observers have noted that Malawi has a number of policy documents aimed at improving child welfare, but there is a serious lack of implementation.
‘Government is under pressure from donors to implement the plan, and Unicef will provide technical support,” said Huijbregts. So far, about R120-million has been sourced to cover implementation for two years, but the project is to run until 2009.