Antiretroviral roll-out in South Africa - Where do children feature?

Shung-King, Maylene
Other Authors: 
Zampoli, Marco
Publication Year: 
Published by: 

Children have a right to basic health care that is guaranteed through the South African Constitution and in keeping with other international treaties such as the CRC that South Africa is a signatory to. Although basic health care services for children have not yet been clearly defined, it can be assumed, given the seriousness, magnitude and urgency of the HIV pandemic, that health services required to maintain and improve the health of children infected with HIV would qualify as basic.

It is imperative, however, that the health needs of children with HIVinfection be looked at comprehensively and that the mere provision of ART not be deemed sufficient. The paper briefly outlines the medical and psychosocial needs of HIV-infected children, recognising their changing needs as they progress from their infant to pre-school to school-going years. Taking this into consideration, the paper proposes a set of services that cut across different levels (primary through to tertiary) and dimensions of care (preventive, curative and rehabilitative), this being contained in Table 1 on page 22. It is crucial to note that prevention of HIV-infection should be the backbone of a comprehensive health service response, and the reduction of HIV-infection in adults, together with the prevention of mother-to-child transmission programme (PMTCT), are the two key intervention strategies requiring maximum attention.

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