Children are to be the main beneficiaries of a $250,000 project to expand and upgrade the HIV/AIDS treatment facility at the ALERT (All African Leprosy and Rehabilitation Training Center) hospital in Addis Ababa. The initiative involves the creation of a specialist paediatric AIDS wing and the employment of nine additional specialist healthcare workers, allowing for the treatment of over 200 HIV-positive youngsters with life-prolonging anti-retroviral (ARV) drugs this year, compared to just ten in 2005. The project is the result of a partnership between the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative and the Christian Children's Fund of Canada (CCFC), which is already active at the hospital.
Established in 1965, ALERT serves approximately 760,000 people, of whom an estimated 50,000 are living with HIV/AIDS. Of these 7,500 are in need of costly ARV therapy, including 700 to 800 children.
According to a joint press release from the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative and CCFC, an estimated 112,000 children are currently living with HIV in Ethiopia, out of a total affected population of 1.7 million, while approximately 40,000 are newly infected and 29,000 die from AIDS and related causes every year. Most affected people live in towns and cities, although the virus is now also beginning to make inroads into rural areas as well.