More work needed to link House of Commons debates on HIV to change for children
I am at the House of Commons attending a debate in Westminster Hall on meeting the UK government’s commitments to children affected by HIV and AIDS in developing countries. It has been highlighted that every hour, over 30 children die as a result of AIDS. HIV is a massive challenge to the international target to cut child mortality by two-thirds by 2015. Sally Keeble MP warned that the impact of HIV is increasing in several countries in Africa and the UK government needs to act quickly.
The Minister for International Development, Ivan Lewis, spoke eloquently on the UK government’s commitment on tackling the HIV epidemic. There seems to be an obvious consensus that the international community is not paying nearly enough attention to the needs of children affected by HIV. The urgent need to increase resources for health systems in order to deliver effective HIV interventions was also discussed.
I am concerned that even after 25 years into the HIV epidemic, access to HIV services is still a major issue for children. I have raised my concerns directly with several MPs who are here.
I have communicated to the MPs that Save the Children wants this to change. We want the UK government to show leadership to increase access to HIV services for children and their carers.
However, today’s debate has been disappointing and I could not see any (new) clear commitments being made.
MPs are good speakers and they know how to address difficult questions but that alone is not enough for children in poor countries.
So we have a lot more to do….