13 May 2009

Obama Announces Global Health Initiative

05/13/09 - On May 5th, President Obama announced a $63 billion, six-year health initiative to help people in the world's poorest countries, according to Reuters. The funds will be used to combat AIDS and tropical diseases such as malaria, and to help improve maternal health.

Youth recieve education about HIV/AIDS in Sierra Leone
Youth receive education about HIV/AIDS at the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in Sierra Leone

A large portion of the pie—$51 billion—would go toward strengthening the Bush administration's program known as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). The other $12 billion would be invested in new programs to fight tropical diseases. The president will request the funds in his 2010 fiscal year budget.

Targeting AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, PEPFAR partners with nations around the world to support treatment, prevention, and care for ill and at-risk populations, including orphans and children. SOS Children's Villages has been carrying out such work for many years in its host countries.

SOS Children's Villages Helps Global AIDS Victims and Orphans

SOS Children's Villages, the world's largest charity devoted to providing loving homes to orphaned and abandoned children, does more than raise children. SOS provides HIV/AIDS prevention education, counseling, and treatment for children in its villages and for local populations.

Worldwide, more than 40 million people have been infected by HIV/AIDS, and countless children have been orphaned as a result. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, more than seven million children have lost both parents to HIV/AIDS. AIDS orphans are on the rise and are expected to reach 25 million by 2010. Daily, SOS is building awareness in communities around the world to prevent new infections.

SOS builds awareness in all SOS Children's Village facilities. Through Family Strengthening programs, SOS staff counsel and test local families, prevent mother-to-child transmission through medical treatment, and support households where children are living with infected parents. SOS also provides antiretroviral drugs to parents who are infected and cares for AIDS orphans in SOS Children’s Villages.

Uganda, Heavily Hit by AIDS, Receives SOS Help

SOS child from Uganda
An SOS child from Uganda, orphaned due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic

In Uganda, living in displaced persons camps and having sex without a condom have contributed to the spread of HIV/AIDS. Almost 7 percent of Uganda's adult population is infected with HIV. More than a million Ugandan children are AIDS orphans.

In Gulu, Uganda, SOS is intervening to stop the spread of HIV/AIDS by testing local community members for HIV/AIDS and teaching them how to avoid contracting the virus. Families that participate in SOS's family strengthening program receive extra nutritional support, medical care, and counseling when their children are HIV-positive.

If you would like to help a vulnerable child in Uganda or elsewhere secure a warm home, receive HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, and have a chance at a long, productive life, consider sponsoring a child.