Palliative care needs of children suffering from AIDS, Zimbabwe
By the end of 2007 an estimated 22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were living with HIV/AIDS. Of these, 1.8 million (33%) were children under the age of 15 years. The epidemic has left 11.6 million children orphaned by AIDS. Zimbabwe has an estimated population of 12 million people; its HIV infection rate amongst all adults was estimated at 33.7% in 2002, decreased to 15.1% in 2007: most likely due to extensive prevention campaigns that were held by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, in partnership with other stakeholders. Despite the decrease in infection rate, 1.3 million people live with the HIV/AIDS and 140 000 have died. United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and World Health Organisation (WHO) (2008) reported that of the 1.3 million people 120 000 were children and 1 million children had been orphaned due to AIDS in Zimbabwe. Only 3% of children living with HIV/AIDS were on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) due to lack of antiretroviral (ARV) paediatric formulations drugs. The purpose of the study is to determine what palliative care services are available for children diagnosed with AIDS in Harare, Zimbabwe and whether the services provided meet the palliative care needs of the children. The aims of the study are to: describe the palliative care services offered by the public health sector to children diagnosed with AIDS; describe the extent of palliative care services offered by NGOs sector to children diagnosed with AIDS; describe what children diagnosed with AIDS perceive as their care needs; and to compare the needs of the children with the services provided.