Webinar Recording: Improving Early Infant Diagnosis

An essential first step in caring for HIV-infected children is accurate and early diagnosis of HIV, early HIV testing, prompt return of results, and rapid initiation of treatment. Survival of HIV‐infected infants depends on a robust early infant diagnosis (EID) system that allows for tracking of infants through to their final HIV status. HIV-infected, untreated infants have rapid disease progression and high mortality.. Investment to scale-up EID has increased substantially in the last decade; however, despite these efforts, timely infant diagnosis remains a challenge.

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, AIDSFree hosted a webinar on early infant diagnosis (EID) including an introduction to EID and presentations on a data-driven programmes and strategies from South Africa, Cameroon and Lesotho. 

For more information on the presenters or to watch the webinar recording click here. 

Source: aidsfree.usaid.gov

New Findings on Child Marriage in Sub-Saharan Africa

Despite increasing global attention and commitments by countries to end the harmful practice of child marriage, each year some 15 million girls marry before the age of 18. This set of studies contributes to the evidence base regarding child marriage by synthesizing research across 4 diverse country contexts in sub-Saharan Africa.

The research suggest that a combination of poverty, transactional sex, unequal gender norms contribute to a cycle of  unintended pregnancy that leads to school dropout and child marriage. The review of literature also indicate that child marriage further increases the risk of exposure to HIV.

Futher demonstrating how educating girls, providing women with economic opportunities, and providing access to sexual and reproductive health information and services can provide a path forward toward the goal of ending child marriage in a generation.

Click here to download the full report

The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World

Digital technology has transformed the world we live in. Childhood is no exception. One in three internet users worldwide is a child, and young people are now the most connected of all age groups. Digital technology can be a game changer for disadvantaged children, offering them new opportunities to learn, socialize and make their voices heard. But as technology rapidly evolves, so can the risks children face online. 

The State of the World’s Children 2017: Children in a Digital World discusses how digital access can be a game changer for children or yet another dividing line. The report represents the first comprehensive look from UNICEF at the different ways digital technology is affecting children, identifying dangers as well as opportunities. It makes a clear call to governments, the digital technology sector and telecom industries to level the digital playing field for children by creating policies, practices and products that can help children harness digital opportunities and protect them from harm.

Click here to download this UNICEF report

Source: UNICEF.org.

AAI Scorecard for Women and Girls SRHR in Africa

A Call for Accountability in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals!

AIDS Accountability International (AAI) recently developed a Scorecard for Women and Girls SRHR in Africa. The report aims to create transparency, stimulate dialogue and provoke action around the state of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in Africa for women and girls. It highlights key issues that affect the full realization of sexual and reproductive health in Africa generally and specifically speaks to SRHR issues within seven African countries: Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
It also provides a comparison of SRHR indicators among African countries using the AAI Scorecard Methodology explained in detail in this report.

Click here to download the report

Policy Brief: Palliative Care for children with Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis


The International Children's Palliative Care Network (ICPCN) in partnership with the RIATT-ESA Care and Support working group is launching a policy brief for Palliative Care for children with Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis (TB) in children has become a serious health issue worldwide and new estimates reveal that at least 67 million children have been infected by TB with 850 000 developing the active disease. This is compounded by the fact that two million of these children have been infected by multi-drug resistant TB, leading to 25 000 cases requiring expensive and toxic treatment. The need for palliative care for children with DR-TB cannot be overstated.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • The Integration of children’s palliative care into primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare services.
  • Training of all health and allied health workers in children’s palliative care, ensuring that training is provided through basic training and continuing education, intermediate training and specialist palliative care training.
  • Ensuring equitable access to pain-relieving and other palliative medicines, including opioids in formulations suitable for children.
  • Ensure that care is provided in a holistic manner i.e. physical, psychological, social and spiritual.
  • Sensitise the community to the need for children’s palliative care, identifying individuals who may be local CPC champions.

Click here to download the full policy brief

A Familiar Face: Violence in the lives of children and adolescents

This report presents the most current data on four specific forms of violence – violent discipline and exposure to domestic abuse during early childhood; violence at school; violent deaths among adolescents; and sexual violence in childhood and adolescence. The statistics reveal that children experience violence across all stages of childhood, in diverse settings, and often at the hands of the trusted individuals with whom they interact daily.

Key facts highlighted in the report:  

  • Close to 300 million (3 in 4) children aged 2 to 4 worldwide experience violent discipline by their caregivers on a regular basis; 250 million (around 6 in 10) are punished by physical means.
  • Worldwide, 1 in 4 (176 million) children under age 5 live with a mother who is a victim of intimate partner violence.
  • Worldwide, close to 130 million (slightly more than 1 in 3) students between the ages of 13 and 15 experience bullying.
  • 732 million (1 in 2) school-age children between 6 and 17 years live in countries where corporal punishment at school is not fully prohibited.
  • Worldwide, around 15 million adolescent girls aged 15 to 19 have experienced forced sex in their lifetime.

Click here to download the full report

Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free: On the Super-Fast Track to ending AIDS in Children, Adolescents and Young Woman in 2020

Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free: On the Super-Fast Track to ending AIDS in Children, Adolescents and Young Woman in 2020

RIATT-ESA is working on behalf of children and adolescents and their families, to encourage national governments as well as national, regional and international stakeholders to pursue the objectives of the Start Free, Stay Free, AIDS Free framework. 

A World Free from Child Poverty: A guide to the tasks to achieve the vision

A World Free from Child Poverty: A guide to the tasks to achieve the vision

Child poverty is a universal problem with devastating impacts on children and societies. This guide, by UNICEF and the Coalition to End Global Poverty, seeks to share experiences from across the world to support countries building national pathways to end child poverty and to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 1) on Ending Poverty.

A Quarter for Prevention? Global Fund Investments in HIV Prevention Interventions in Generalized African Epidemics

June 2017 ICASO and EANNASO published a discussion paper suggesting that the Global Fund might not be investing enough money in HIV prevention in Africa to meet its targets.

The Global Fund Strategy 2017-2022 sets ambitious targets for HIV prevention aiming to achieve a 38% reduction in new infections over the 2015-2022 period, including a 58% reduction in HIV incidence in adolescent girls and young women aged 15-24. However, this discussion paper highlights how not all countries and populations are makings the same progress on prevention.

Key Findings include:

  • Among the sample, an average of 15% of HIV and TB/HIV Global Fund grants are dedicated to HIV prevention interventions. This is below the UNAIDS benchmark of 26% for prevention.
  • The Global Fund’s investments in HIV prevention are largely in line with disease burden. Countries with higher numbers of new infections request and receive more HIV prevention funding.
  • Advocacy from civil society and communities is absolutely vital, particularly on urging countries to request greater HIV prevention funding for key populations and adolescent girls and young women

This discussion paper frames resource needs for HIV prevention in terms of global estimates. The aim of this discussion paper is to contribute to civil society and community groups’ advocacy efforts to increase Global Fund investments in HIV prevention interventions during the 2017-2019 funding cycle.

Click here to download the Discussion Paper

Sex in the shadow of HIV: A systematic review of prevalence, risk factors, and interventions to reduce sexual risk-taking among HIV-positive adolescents and youth in sub-Saharan Africa

Globally significant progress has been made in the fight to end HIV. However, rates of new infections continue to increase among 15-25 year old youth in sub-Saharan Africa. 

This study by Elona Toska, Marija Pantelic, Franziska Meinck, Katharina Keck, Roxanna Haghighat and Lucie Cluver synthesizes the extant research on prevalence, factors associated with, and interventions to reduce sexual risk-taking among HIV-positive adolescents and youth in sub-Saharan Africa.

Click here to read the full study.

Early moments matter

This report by UNICEF presents data and outlines best practices and policies that can put governments on the path to providing every child with the best start in life. It outlines the neuroscience of early childhood development (ECD), including the importance of nutrition, protection and stimulation in the early years. And it makes the case for scaling up investment, evaluation and monitoring in ECD programmes. The report concludes with a six-point call to action for governments and their partners to help maximize the potential of the children who will build the future – by making the most of the unparalleled opportunities offered by the early moments in life.

Click here to download the report

Source: UNICEF

Integrating Mental Health and HIV Services in Zimbabwean Communities: A Nurse and Community-led Approach to Reach the Most Vulnerable

Provision of mental health services for people living with HIV is critical to provide appropriate, long-term care and support, and to improve HIV-related morbidity and mortality.

This Zimbabwe pilot study looks at the feasibility of integrating mental health and HIV stepped-care approach in nurses, community health workers, and traditional medicine practitioners. The study indicates that integration of mental health and HIV services can expand availability of mental health services for people living with HIV. 

Click here to download the study.