Harnessing Social Protection to Improve HIV Outcomes for Children and Adolescents
COVID-19 has highlighted once again how social and economic barriers prevent vulnerable children and adolescents from accessing and benefitting from biomedical support essential for their health and wellbeing. HIV is no exception. Poverty, stigmatisation, emotional and mental distress and far distances are just some of the barriers that continue to hinder the most vulnerable children and adolescents from accessing HIV support. Overcoming these barriers is critical for ending AIDS as with any pandemic.
The 8 winners of the Reaching All Children Positive Action Challenge have inspired us on what is possible. Their innovations have enabled vulnerable populations to overcome these barriers by combining biomedical support with social protection. They have made the invisible architecture behind a holistic approach more visible. As well as the bi-directional benefits of social protection for both HIV and other Sustainable Development Goals. They have also reminded us of the value of different kinds of evidence in helping us all invest in solutions that work.
We are grateful to all of them and to all our panellists at the recent webinar – More than Medicine: Harnessing Social Protection to Improve HIV Outcomes in Vulnerable Children and Adolescents affected by HIV. This includes, Gretchen Bachman of the U.S. Department of State, Suki Beavers and David Chipanta of UNAIDS, Allison Oman Lawi of the World Food Programme, and Janet Barry of the Bantwana World Education Initiative. All of them inspired us to empower vulnerable children, adolescents and their caregivers with a holistic array of low-cost, home-grown innovations. And they demystified what can sometimes feel to be an overwhelming prospect – to provide holistic support to vulnerable children and adolescents. In the words of one of the 8 winning innovators – Josiah Kiarie of the Catholic Diocese of Ngong in Kenya – ‘It’s not complicated!’
The Coalition wishes to thank most sincerely the 8 winning innovators and the co-sponsors of this webinar – the Inter-agency Task Team on HIV-sensitive Social Protection, the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Task Force, and ViiV Healthcare Positive Action. We are delighted to share a recording of it below and we encourage you all to promote it amongst your own networks.