The AIDS epidemic, poverty and drought are recognized as the underlying factors behind the current complex humanitarian crisis in Lesotho. The estimated number of vulnerable people in need of emergency food aid rose from 448,000 to nearly 700,000 or one-third of the population in 2002-2004.
Children and women's access to quality social services have been reversed. With a national HIV/AIDS seroprevalence of 29% among adults, Lesotho has the third highest prevalence rate in the world. The country is also confronted by an increasing number of orphans, reaching 92,000 in 2003. Care and protection of this group who are at high risk of dropping out of school and subsequently being exposed to abuse and exploitation, is a national challenge.
Planned Humanitarian Action for 2005
UNICEF works closely with key government counterparts, UN agencies, and NGOs. UNICEF chairs the OVC and Communication Task Forces, and the HIV/AIDS theme group. UNICEF is an active member of the Gender theme group and the Food and Nutrition task Force. The primary recipient of UNICEF's humanitarian assistance will be some 350,000 children and women.
Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will procure and distribute home based care kits, multivitamins, provide ARV treatment, vitamin A, and worm treatment medicines, and support therapeutic feeding centres. UNICEF will also train health and community workers on best health and nutrition care practises in the context of HIV/AIDS.
Education: UNICEF will supply basic school materials, first aid and hygiene kits for primary schools. UNICEF will train teachers with particular attention on HIV/AIDS, life skills and psychosocial care.
Child Protection: UNICEF will adapt and develop the string game, aiming at engaging discussions on HIV/AIDS. In addition, UNICEF will sensitize religious leaders, communities, on child's rights to access basic social services and the need for protection from all forms of abuse and exploitation.
Summary of UNICEF Financial Needs for 2005
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1 The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 12%. The actual recovery rate on individual contributions will be calculated in accordance with the Executive Board Decision 2003/9 of 5 June 2003.