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Disaster Relief: Orphans

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the US about the impact of a new definition of orphans and vulnerable children on eligibility for support from the President's Emergency Plan for Aids Relief from March; and if he will make a statement. (124894)

We have regular discussions, at both ministerial and official level, with colleagues in the US Office of the Global AIDS Co-ordinator, who are responsible for the operation of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). We understand they have no plans to adopt a new definition of orphans and vulnerable children.

We believe the most widely adopted international definitions are those agreed by the members of the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group. They define an orphan as a child below the age of 18 who has lost one or both parents. They further define a child made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS as below the age of 18 and:

Having lost one or both parents, or

Having a chronically ill parent (regardless of whether the parent lives in the same household as the child), or

Living in a household where in the past 12 months, at least one adult died and was sick for three of the 12 months before he/she died, or

Living in a household where at least one adult was seriously ill for at least three months in the past 12 months, or

Living outside of family care (i.e. living in an institution or on the streets).

DFID supports the UNICEF view, agreed at the 2004 and 2006 Global Partners Forums, that national and international partners should advance action for “children affected by AIDS” rather than “orphans and vulnerable children” to reflect the range of ways that HIV and AIDS can make children vulnerable, including children: living in households that have taken in orphans; living with HIV themselves; who have lost access to school; or whose parents are struggling with a terminal illness.