Swaziland, like other Sub-Saharan Countries, continues to be deeply affected by the HIV and AIDS pandemic, which poses a threat to the country's economic and social development. In 2004, Sentinel Surveillance results from 17 Antenatal clinics identified an HIV and AIDS prevalence of 42.6 percent. An estimated 17,700 people died of AIDS-related deaths in 2003. The pandemic combined with widespread poverty, a weakening economy and regional drought, has left nearly one-third of children living in conditions typical of disaster situations. This especially affects orphans and vulnerable children left destitute and often forced to fend for themselves. With legislation and policies to protect children's property and rights still incomplete, too many cases continue to occur of children being disinherited and impoverished after the loss of parents.
A 2004 “rapid assessment” determined the magnitude and nature of the OVC challenge through analysing and summarising existing data. The analysis engaged key stakeholders who: examined available data; assessed critical gaps and constraints on leveraging OVC programmes; identified key actions and resources required to address these gaps; and mobilised leaders, partners and resources around a series of actions and follow-up that resulted in this National Plan of Action for OVC.