Save the Children envisions a world where children and families can live free of HIV infection and in which families that are affected by HIV/AIDS can live positively and productively without stigma and discrimination.
Extending Help to AIDS-Affected Children
In 2009, Save the Children’s programs in HIV/AIDS reached 37 million children and others in 14 countries. Save the Children now supports volunteer committees organized to meet the basic needs of orphans and vulnerable children for health care, education, psychosocial support and protection. In Mozambique, 35,000 children are being supported through these committees, while in Ethiopia, more than 147,000 children are getting the help they need. Save the Children also works with pregnant women to prevent HIV infection of their newborns. We strongly advocate for the expansion of programs to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMCT), and provide care for infected children. In many countries, Save the Children’s programs emphasize HIV prevention for youth and at-risk populations through education and awareness-raising. In Asia, Save the Children works with the governments of Bangladesh and Vietnam to increase the impact of education and awareness programs as well as programs supporting youth-friendly health services and clubs for young people. Our training programs are also reaching thousands of policymakers, religious and community leaders and workplace teams. Through these social networks, HIV information has reached more than 700,000 young people in Bangladesh alone.
Two years ago, Save the Children conducted an evaluation of home-based care which revealed that children with ill parents are often neglected. When a patient dies, the orphaned children are left without any plans for their future care. Involving home-based caregivers with the children as well as the patient helps them all through the prolonged illness and death of a family member. Since this training program began, children are getting the emotional, educational and nutritional support they need and are more quickly integrated into the community.
School Health and Nutrition
Our school health and nutrition activities in 20 countries helped more than 2 million children grow healthier and better prepared to learn, because children who are undernourished or sick miss classes and fall behind in learning. Our school-based health and nutrition program provides a range of health measures, including vitamin supplements, de-worming, treatment for malaria and other illnesses, as well as education in hygiene and nutrition.
Frontline Health Workers
Save the Children also relies on frontline health workers to reduce deaths among children under the age of 5, focusing on 18 high-mortality countries in 2009. This “community case management” approach enables health workers to diagnose and treat the leading killers of children — diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria.
Almost 9 million children in the developing world die from diseases like pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and newborn complications. Simple care and low-cost treatments can prevent or cure most of these problems. By helping to train and equip local health workers, you get these treatments to the places that need them most – communities without access to reliable healthcare. Local health workers supply mosquito nets as the first line of defense from malaria infection. Trained health workers can diagnose and provide anti-malarial medicines that help children survive. Save the Children provides technical support, training packages and implementation guidelines to frontline health workers and their supervisors to reach poor and marginalized groups that might otherwise not have access to, or use, this lifesaving care. To reach children and their families in nearly 40 countries and beyond, Save the Children also conducts research and advocates for the integration of proven community interventions into national strategies and delivery systems. Save the Children is partnering with The Ad Council in launching an advertising campaign — GoodGoes.org — to highlight the work of frontline health workers. This public awareness effort supports Save the Children’s global Newborn and Child Survival campaign to engage people in every country in improving the lives of families and the well-being of children through increased use of lifesaving health and nutrition services.
Reducing Newborn and Child Mortality
In 40 countries where 90 percent of over 9 million deaths among children under 5 occur each year, Save the Children’s community-based health and nutrition programs ensure families’ access to low-cost, effective health care. Through our training programs for community health workers, children with life-threatening diseases receive proper treatment and referrals to medical facilities. This model for health care delivery is helping to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children under 5 who might otherwise die from treatable or preventable causes.
Best Programs for Children’s Health
Despite great strides in maternal, newborn and child health over the past 30 years, over nine million children under 5 die each year, and more than 60 percent of those deaths could be prevented. Low-cost and effective solutions that can save children from early and needless death already exist — if we can get families access to appropriate and affordable health care. Save the Children’s approach to effective maternal, newborn and child health is rooted in community-based programs that deliver lifesaving care for children and families that need it most.
Kangaroo mother care is one of many health measures that Save the Children has introduced in 40 countries to help save the lives of children under age 5. Through the Campaign for Newborn and Child Survival, Save the Children mobilizes support from “grassroots” citizens to “grasstops” government leaders and donors. Our goal is to increase funding for maternal, newborn and child health worldwide and help reduce child deaths by more than 5 million annually by 2015.
Policies for Global Child Survival
Save the Children uses its firsthand knowledge and experience to educate and advocate for children and families in the United States and overseas. Mobilizing support — from grassroots to grasstops — is the first step to reducing child mortality.
Under the leadership of former Senator Bill Frist, MD, Save the Children worked with coalition partners to generate strong bipartisan support for child survival by helping to secure more than 125 House and Senate co-sponsors for the U.S. Commitment to Global Child Survival Act, which was adopted unanimously by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Caring for Children Orphaned by AIDS
More than 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS and the majority live in sub-Saharan Africa. As the epidemic claims more lives each year, experts project that the number of orphaned and vulnerable children will almost double in the next 10 years. Save the Children’s response to the needs of children affected by AIDS is comprehensive and family-centered, building each community’s capacity to offer basic safety, health and protection, emotional support, food and education. For older orphans and vulnerable children, we ensure that they have the information, services and support they need to prevent HIV infection and early parenthood. In 2008, Save the Children programs benefited over 1.5 million orphaned and vulnerable children in Ethiopia, Haiti, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda and Vietnam.
Fighting HIV/AIDS in Partnership with Communities
Drawing on our global experience, Save the Children continually supports hundreds of thousands of children affected by HIV. Save the Children takes on a comprehensive approach in addressing HIV/AIDS for children, spanning from prevention to care and mitigation with a focus on orphans and vulnerable children; youth at risk; and Pediatric AIDS.
Working with families, community groups, local governments and nongovernmental organizations, Save the Children strengthens local capacities to protect vulnerable children, prevent the spread of HIV, and care for community members infected with HIV/AIDS. In order to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable response to the epidemic as well as mitigate stigma and discrimination, Save the Children integrates HIV throughout various sector programs in education, health, food security, and economic opportunities.
Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Save the Children provides comprehensive care and support for orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) through nine programs across five countries, namely Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Uganda, and Haiti. Save the Children's programs respond to the needs of children affected by AIDS through a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach: building community capacity to provide basic safety and protection, psychosocial support, food security, economic strengthening, and access to basic health and education services. Our programs are tailored to meet the age-specific needs of the child affected by AIDS, and use whole child programming and family-centered approaches to ensure comprehensive needs are met and appropriate linkages to services and care are made.
Youth at Risk
Save the Children addresses the prevention of HIV among youth through programming in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Malawi, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Georgia while taking youth prevention to a national scale in Bangladesh. Our youth prevention approach is based on an understanding of local epidemics and the factors increasing vulnerability and driving the spread of the disease. In concentrated epidemics (primarily Asia), our work focuses on young people at greatest risk based on geographic, demographic and behavioral considerations. In high prevalence settings, we target all youth, with particular attention to older orphans and vulnerable children. Save the Children is working to expand access to quality information and services, establish peer support networks, and ensure that services are youth friendly so young people can make healthy decisions and adopt protective practices. Mobilizing peers and influential adults such as parents, teachers, and traditional religious leaders, Save the Children is able to work with young people and their communities to increase knowledge and information, create livelihood opportunities, increase healthy behaviors, and reduce vulnerability.
Pediatric AIDS and Mother-to Child Transmission
Save the Children addresses mother-to-child transmission of pediatric infection through a continuum that includes prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and the identification and care of children known to be HIV positive. Through our programs, we address gender and stigma barriers to testing among women, improve case follow-up for HIV-exposed newborns, and enhance support for HIV-positive mothers. For HIV-infected children born to parents who do not know their status, we focus on developing interventions for earlier case finding through community health, nutrition and OVC programming. We are also testing new approaches to address nutritional needs of HIV positive children. Save the Children has implemented PMTCT program activities in Mozambique, Malawi, Ethiopia. and Myanmar, and continues to build an evidence base for community based prevention of mother to child transmission.