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Zambia Needs to Implement Policies Addressing AIDS Orphans, Health Official Says

June 20, 2006

About one million children in Zambia will have lost one or both parents by 2015 -- in large part because of HIV/AIDS -- unless effective policies and strategies are implemented, acting Health Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha said on Thursday, Xinhua/People's Daily reports. Speaking at the third annual joint review of the national HIV/AIDS strategic framework and operations of the National AIDS Council, Shikapwasha said there are 750,000 AIDS orphans in the country, and most of them are unlikely to obtain a formal education. Shikapwasha added that 6% of AIDS orphans are homeless and fewer than 1% are in orphanages. According to UNICEF, the proportion of homeless orphans is about 10%. Shikapwasha called for the support of orphans and vulnerable children through better access to education, health care, nutrition, food, housing and stable homes. He also stressed that Zambia needs to double the number of health care workers and counselors in the country, as well as the amount of funding allocated to HIV/AIDS, to tackle the disease (Xinhua/People's Daily, 6/16).

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