Supporting Kenyan Orphans Affected by HIV and AIDS
In developing nations, particularly in sub-Saharan
Africa, HIV and AIDS are great risks to public health. In Kenya, HIV infections
and AIDS remain serious health issues, with thousands of parents dying every
year from AIDS-related causes, leaving children orphaned and often facing an
Thanks to the
intervention of various governments and international health organizations,
Kenya has made much progress in terms of reducing the prevalence of HIV and AIDS
during the past 20 years, but there is still a long way to go. Data from the
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) shows that the rate of
HIV infection among Kenyans ages 15 to 64 was at approximately 6.3
percent in 2008-09, and UNICEF reports HIV prevalence at 6.2 percent in
2011. With a population of more than 38 million people, Kenya has one of the
highest rates of infection in eastern Africa.
Women are more likely to
become infected than men, with 8 percent of women reporting infection compared
to 4.3 percent of men. Young women between the ages of 15 and 24 are at
particular risk and are four times more likely to become infected than young men
in this age range.
Another complication faced by international aid
organizations is the uneven distribution of reported infection. More than half
of Kenyan individuals living with HIV reside in the Nyanza and Rift Valley
provinces, placing even greater strain on already limited health care
A Crucial Turning Point
With such high rates of
infection, it is little wonder that HIV and AIDS represents one of the greatest
threats to not only adult health but also the well-being of Kenyan children.
According to UNICEF, more
than 1.1 million children were orphaned by HIV or AIDS in
Prior to 2009, when the Kenyan government introduced new
measures to protect children orphaned by AIDS, children received little support
following their parents' deaths. However, in the past four years, great strides
have been made in supporting and protecting these children. Overall health
awareness initiatives such as those operated by ChildFund, USAID and other
organizations, have led to declines in the number of AIDS-related deaths across
Kenya, which has resulted in fewer children being orphaned or otherwise left
vulnerable, according to UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on
In 2007, more than 21 percent of households caring for children
orphaned by AIDS received
some form of financial assistance, compared to 14 percent reported in 2005.
UNAIDS plans to increase access to financial support for these families, and at
present, Kenya is on track to meet its goal of providing help to 40 percent
of caregivers for AIDS-orphaned children by the end of the year.
Although the progress
reported by UNAIDS is encouraging, millions of children in Kenya lack the
assistance they need. To address this problem, ChildFund has been involved in a
long-term program to support children whose lives have been affected by HIV and
AIDS. In order to meet the terms of a $3.5 million matching grant, we
must raise $725,000 by Aug. 31, 2013.
To help us provide the vital
support these children need to survive, please consider making a donation to
this important fund. Every dollar you donate will be matched with an additional
$4.35, making your support go even further. Your generosity will make a huge
difference in the lives of children orphaned by AIDS and allow us to help even
more children and families affected by this disease.