Donor agencies capacitating Jamaica to provide quality care and support
to orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV
N. Lewis1,2,3, O. Edwards1,4, The Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network
1The Jamaica Youth Advocacy Network, HIV Prevention/Marketing, Kingston, Jamaica, 2Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS(GYCA), Kingston, Jamaica, 3Advocates for Youth, Washington D.C., United States, 4Vienna Youth Force, Advocacy Sub-committee, Vienna, Austria
Issues: The impact of the AIDS
epidemic in Jamaica has been felt the hardest by our children. A 2002
UNICEF commissioned, Rapid Assessment of the Situation of Orphans
and Other Children made vulnerable by HIV (OVCs), estimated that 20,000
Jamaican children are both infected and affected. Less than four
were receiving support from Government or NGOs to supply basic needs
health care, economic assistance for education and other psychosocial
response however, has been incapacitated by a lack of adequate funding,
staff complement and technical expertise.
Description: UNICEF was instrumental in
helping Jamaica´s Health ministry and relevant NGOs, to develop a repositioning
strategy that improved the efficacy with which the country responds to the
epidemic and particularly its effects on OVC´s. A National Plan of Action was
developed and operationalised via the implementation of the Prevention of
Mother to Child Transmission PLUS protocol (PMTCTPLUS) and activities that
improved support services for OVCs. Funding from Global fund in 2004 advanced
the eradication of the costs of medication, thereby lessening the economic
pressure on individual homes.
Lessons learned: Jamaica´s economy makes it highly
dependent on donor agencies to build its capacity to respond to the needs of OVCs.
Simultaneously addressing the health, socio-economic and cultural challenges
that OVCs face is the most sustainable methodology. Failing to address the
needs of children affected by HIV, contributes to rising HIV prevalence,
unemployment, illiteracy and crime rates.
Next steps: The
UNICEF intervention created the base for ensuring an island wide adoption of the PMTCTPLUS approach
and the provision of a comprehensive package of care and treatment
interventions to all PLWHA and their families. The Government and relevant NGOs
is to secure greater coordination in the provision of social safety nets for
families infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Back to the Programme-at-a-Glance