Call to include HIV/AIDS infected children in social security program « Khabarhub
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Call to include HIV/AIDS infected children in social security program

15 March 2024  

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KATHMANDU: A national gathering of children living with HIV/AIDS has urged the government to integrate them into the Social Security Programme (SSP).

The gathering, held recently in Kathmandu, concluded with the issuance of the Kathmandu Declaration, advocating for their inclusion in the SSP.

While the SSP already covers people from marginalized communities, single women, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities, it overlooks HIV/AIDS-infected children.

The gathering estimated that meeting this demand would require an additional annual financial allocation of approximately Rs 63 million, about 3.6 percent of the Child Protection Fund.

The declaration emphasized ending all forms of violence, prejudices, taboos, and discrimination against HIV/AIDS-infected children, highlighting the importance of protecting their rights and interests.

It also called for more effective implementation of legal provisions in favor of children and raising awareness about child rights in society.

Additionally, the gathering demanded that the government extend SSP benefits to HIV/AIDS-infected individuals up to 20 years of age, provide more opportunities for their higher education, and prioritize them in employment opportunities.

Furthermore, the declaration urged the government to introduce special legal provisions for orphaned children and those with unidentified parents, ensuring their access to state facilities including birth registration and citizenship.

Key demands presented at the event included the establishment of an integrated child-friendly ART center, addressing the side effects of antiretroviral (ARV) medication, and providing reproductive and mental health facilities.

It also emphasized the need for skill enhancement, relationship counseling, and career guidance for HIV/AIDS-infected children.

The declaration underscored the importance of ensuring that HIV-infected children and youths are not defined by their condition, but are instead empowered to become capable citizens contributing to the country’s socio-economic prosperity.

According to a press release issued by the programme manager of YKP Lead Nepal, Pooja Kunwar, a total of 28 HIV-infected children from seven provinces participated in the gathering.

Discussions were held on various issues concerning the services, facilities, and opportunities provided by the state for the overall development of HIV-infected children.

Many of the participants, who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS-related diseases, expressed their struggles with poverty and difficulties in accessing basic needs such as food, accommodation, education, and healthcare.

They also highlighted the stigma and discrimination they face in society, which negatively impacts their self-esteem and livelihood opportunities.

Publish Date : 15 March 2024 18:35 PM

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