HIV and AIDS are serious threats to child development in nearly all of the communities where ChildFund works. Whether they struggle with the disease themselves or have parents who are infected, many children lack the necessary support to achieve their potential.
Addressing a range of challenges related to individuals and families affected by the global epidemic, policymakers, advocates and health officials around the world are preparing to gather for the 2012 International AIDS Conference on July 22. Hosted on American soil for the first time in over 20 years, the weeklong conference will take place in Washington, D.C., and will encourage discourse to identify next steps in eliminating the epidemic. Two ChildFund International representatives will be joining the conversation.
Oscar Fleming and Mary Moran are attending the conference to talk about ChildFund’s dedication to promoting healthy child development. However, the duo will have two very different conference experiences.
Moran, senior program specialist for early childhood development (ECD), will present on understanding the importance of holistic developmental programming for infants, young children and their families. She will team up with Gretchen Bachman from USAID to facilitate a workshop entitled “Integrating Early Childhood Development into PMTCT Services: Creating the Clinic to Community Continuum for Mothers Living with HIV and Their Children.”
“This session will provide strategies for strengthening the prevention of mother-to-child transmission [of HIV] through integration of early child development,” she says. “[We will] provide practical group activities to explore these approaches and use scenarios to apply theory to practical situations.”
Oscar, director of the children and young adolescents’ technical unit, plans to gather information on the current advances in HIV prevention and treatment that will provide relevant data to contribute to ChildFund’s current efforts.
“I will be focusing my time at the conference on issues specific to children,” Fleming says, “including issues around preventing vertical HIV transmission, holistic responses to children living with and or affected by HIV, and engaging children and youth in effective prevention and care programming.”
He will also attend a pre-conference symposium that will focus on community-based responses to ending mother-to-child HIV transmission and a host of theme-related sessions.
Serving as a call to action, this year’s conference theme, Turning the Tide Together, encourages advocates, practitioners and researchers to play a role in addressing the universal issues of HIV and AIDS. With Oscar and Mary in attendance, ChildFund is prepared to contribute to that effort.
For more information, please visit this site: http://www.aids2012.org/