Children Affected by HIV and AIDS (CABA) Assessment Continues in Nepal
Children Affected by HIV and AIDS (CABA) Assessment in Nepal
In 2009, Save The Children conducted an assessment of children affected by AIDS. The study also abbreviated and known as Children Affected by HIV and AIDS (CABA) assessed children who were either HIV positive; children with one or more HIV+ parents/caregivers; children who lost one or both parents to AIDS or children living in the house with one or more HIV+ person(s).
Since the CABA report in Nepal in 2009, there have not been many national-level studies on children affected by HIV and AIDS. In 2014, Save the Children, Nepal implemented a cash transfer program for children living with HIV (CLHIV), which was funded and supported through the Global Fund. Approximately 1366 children, ages up to 18, accessed the cash transfer program until April 2019. The program was also managed by the National Network of People Living with HIV (PLHIV) (NAP+N) and implemented through the Community Care Centre (CCC) in 66 districts in Nepal. Thus far, the cash transfer program is the only national social-protection and support program in Nepal that caters to CLHIV. However, the program itself does not cover children who are affected by HIV. The program itself does provide financial support to children living with HIV/AIDS up to the age of 18 to cover the costs associated with long-term illness due to HIV, including any necessary treatment or medication. However, many challenges have been experienced in the implementation of the program, such as the provision of support to children once they passed the cut off age of 18.
In 2019, Youth LEAD partnered with YKP Lead NAP+N to provide technical assistance with the new Global Fund grant, with Asia Catalyst selected as the TA provider. The grant will pave the way for an updated report that aims to expand the previous assessment done by Save the Children and initiate the work-plan ahead. The research will assess the current situations of children living with and affected by HIV and will seek to evaluate the cash transfer program. The report also will incorporate several mixed-methodologies and will cover 21 districts, out of 76 districts in Nepal.
The assessment, which is coordinated by the Core Group, is comprised of Youth LEAD, YKP Lead Nepal and NAP+N and the Technical Advisory Group (TAG). TAG members include the NCASC (National Center for AIDS and STD Control), NFWLHA (National Federation of Women Living with HIV), Nava Kiran Plus, Sparsha, UNAIDS, UNICEF Nepal, UNICEF ROSA, Save the Children, AHF, FHI360 and WHO Nepal.
Most recently, the first TAG meeting took place on 20 February 2020 at NCASC meeting hall. The meeting helped establish a term of reference between TAG members and initiate the discussion on the methodology of the study. The Director and SI Department Chief of NCASC, Chair of NAP+N and a representative of YKP Nepal provided opening remarks. Gaj Gurung, Regional Coordinator at Youth LEAD, led the oncoming discussion and provided the background context of the report to TAG members. Finally, the lead consultant facilitated the discussion on the methodology.
So far, the ethical approval process has been finalised at the National Health Research Council and are waiting for final confirmations. Data collectors will be identified and trained so that the data collection process will begin early in April 2020. The assessment is expected to be completed by May to align with the Global Fund funding request development process. The outcome of the report will be presented to the CCM to strengthen the existing cash transfer program and other programs for CABA. Also, the core group will utilise the report findings to advocate with the government to include CABA in their social protection programs.
Edited by: Gaj Gurung, Regional Coordinator and Eddy Rudram Communications Officer at Youth LEAD