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UNICEF To Launch A Programme For Zimbabwe Children

The U.N. Children's Fund is planning on launching a program to improve the care, health, education and nutrition of vulnerable children in Zimbabwe//, where one child dies of AIDS and another is orphaned every 20 minutes.

In a statement Wednesday, UNICEF Britain has acknowledged the scale of the Aids catastrophe threatening Zimbabwe's children and has given UNICEF £22 million to help the children facing some of the worst hardships anywhere in the world, given the extent of the economic crisis.

UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said in the statement, that HIV and AIDS have dramatically increased children's vulnerability in recent years. Stating that at least one in three children in Zimbabwe, 1.6 million, are orphaned, having lost at least one parent, and this number still growing. According to the UNICEF survey a child is orphaned and one dies of AIDS every 20 minutes; three infants are infected with the AIDS virus every hour, mainly from their mothers; and one in eight children now die before the age of 5, compared to one in 13 children 15 years ago.

The AIDS epidemic has lowered average life expectancy to below 40, from 69 after independence in 1980. With at least 3,000 people die every week in Zimbabwe from AIDS-related causes.

The British donation they claim will also go toward increasing school enrolments for affected children and family and community support programs as part of Zimbabwe's National Plan of Action, this action is also backed by the government. According to UNICEF, despite the country's economic collapse the people of Zimbabwe, they still continue to lead by example in their care for vulnerable children. More than 90 percent of orphans were absorbed into extended families, sometimes even distant relatives. That almost every two out of five households even in the poorest belt take in orphans at the cost of adding to their economic burden. They claim that less than half of these people receive any
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