By Marco Prates, Communications Assistant
Brasília, 23 February – HIV-inclusive and sensitive social protection initiatives in Malawi and Zambia, two sub-Saharan African countries with high prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS, were the subject of the inaugural session of the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG)’s 2017 Seminar Series, hosted on 17 February. HIV/AIDS is now the leading cause of death among young people in Africa and the second leading cause of death among young people worldwide, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). One of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 3 (“ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”) is to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030.
Pedro Arruda, IPC-IG Research Associate, presented the preliminary findings of an ongoing study conducted by the Centre and financed by UNICEF on HIV policies and programmes supporting poor children, adolescents and families in those two countries. “Both countries stand out for providing social protection responses to HIV through large-scale and long-lasting Cash Transfer programmes”, says Pedro.
While there have been improvements in reducing mortality rates and HIV/AIDS incidence and prevalence since the early 2000s, a substantial 13 per cent of the population aged 15 to 49 years-old in Zambia remains infected by the virus. In Malawi the prevalence rate is of 9%, also considered very high.
HIV-inclusive initiatives aim to reach out to the HIV-infected, -affected and -vulnerable population, without being exclusively meant for them. HIV-sensitivity programmes, not only reach out to that target population, but also have additional features to address their specific needs.
The presentation of the preliminary findings of this research allowed the audience, composed of researchers and representatives from international embassies in Brasília—namely Zambia, Turkey, Nigeria, and the Philippines—to discuss Malawi’s and Zambia’s most pressing challenges, and suggest alternatives to enhance the HIV-inclusiveness and sensitivity of their cash transfer initiatives.
About the project
Under the guidance of the UNICEF Central Headquarters’ Social Protection Specialist and the HIV and social policy staff from the Regional Office in East and Southern Africa (UNICEF ESARO), the IPC-IG is developing and producing documentation on the role of social protection systems in providing comprehensive support to children and adolescents affected by HIV in four African countries—Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe—in particular highlighting lessons and innovations on how to strengthen HIV sensitivity. To this end, the IPC-IG team has initiated a series of missions to all four countries to gather information from interviews with key stakeholders.
Within the scope of the project, the Centre will actively foster knowledge production and sharing activities. The IPC-IG will elaborate four Policy Research Briefs documenting the HIV-inclusive and HIV-sensitive features of Social Protection systems of each country, and a Working Paper comparing the experiences of the four countries. These studies will be published and disseminated in English, French, and Portuguese.
About the Seminar Series
The IPC-IG’s 2017 Seminar Series is an opportunity to share knowledge and promote debates around current issues on the global development and distributive agendas. Hosted by Dr. Sergei Soares, researcher at the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) and Research Associate at the IPC-IG, the one-hour sessions (comprising an original 30-40-minute-long presentation followed by a Q&A session) will happen on the last Friday of each month, at the IPC-IG office in Brasilia.