Life still difficult for HIV/AIDS affected kids hinh anh 1A doctor conducts healthcheck to a HIV-infected child in Giao Thuy District, Binh Dinh Province (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) - Children affected by HIV/AIDS continue to face discrimination and other challenges despite significant gains made in efforts to help them, officials said at a meeting on November 22. 

More than 14,700 children affected by HIV/AIDS have received full healthcare, education and nutritional assistance after a national action plan began implementation three years ago.

The 2014-2020 National Action Plan for Children Affected by HIV/AIDS has thus far covered 70 percent of the targeted children.

The plan defines children affected by HIV/AIDS disease as those who have contracted HIV, those whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS, those living with HIV/AIDS parents, and those with high risk of HIV/AIDS because their parents were drug-users or commercial sex workers.

The figures were revealed at the meeting organised in Hanoi by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) to summarise initial results of the action plan.

MoLISA Deputy Minister Dao Hong Lan said 248 of 345 centres across the country have been equipped with essential skills to take care for children affected by HIV/AIDS.

At present, 84 percent of schools in the country were admitting children affected by HIV/AIDS, Lan said.

Vietnam now has about 21,000 children affected by HIV/AIDS, including 6,800 living with HIV/AIDS.

Among the goals set in the action plan are to provide healthcare, education and nutritional assistance to 90 percent of affected children by 2020; to equip 90 percent of centres with skills needed to care for children affected by HIV/AIDS; and to have 100 percent of schools in the country admit children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Challenges remain

Despite the progress made, challenges remained in assisting children affected by HIV/AIDS, Lan said.

Public awareness of taking care of and protecting children affected by HIV/AIDS had not improved as expected, she said, adding that children affected by the virus and disease still faced discrimination.

Hoang Dinh Canh, deputy head of the Vietnam Administration of HIV/AIDS Control, said lack of knowledgeable staff at HIV/AIDS child care centres was one of the challenges.

The meeting heard that 27 provinces and cities had failed to spend enough money on caring for children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Task force

Lan said her ministry would work with the Health Ministry and the Ministry of Education and Training to meet the national action plan’s targets.

A task force with officials and experts from the three ministries would work to outline the most effective model for supporting children affected by HIV/AIDS in the remaining four years (2017-20), she said.

“There would be more frequent dissemination of information to raise public awareness and reduce discrimination in our society,” she said.-VNA