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In response to the AIDS epidemic and poverty, the Zimbabwean government and other organisations are implementing various programmes aimed at assisting orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in the eight districts surveyed. It is clearly important to have an audit of the social services and support structures available for OVC in the eight districts and to have a clear understanding of the situation of OVC including their needs and concerns in order to have proper prioritisation, designing and evaluation of programmes that are aimed at supporting the affected children.
In recent years, a consensus has developed among international NGOs and UN agencies working to support children affected by HIV and AIDS, with general agreement around key principles and priorities. There is also increasing recognition that investment in children's early years of life gives the greatest returns.2 Yet far too little has been done to put principles into practice and there is an urgent need for concerted government action. …
This document offers a set of guiding principles upon which to develop an expanded response to children and adolescents affected by HIV/AIDS. It is hoped that it will enrich discussions among stakeholders at all national and international levels. The principles and recommendations will remain open to revision, in order to reflect the ongoing dialogue and incorporate lessons learned from experience.