Children are the focus of one of Caritas Internationalis’ major campaigns: HAART for Children. HAART stands for Highly Active Anti- Retroviral Therapy. Caritas Internationalis presses governments and pharmaceutical companies to develop “child-friendly” forms of medicines and testing. Caritas Australia directly asked the pharmaceutical giant Roche to do its part in facilitating access to medication to fight HIV and the tuberculosis that so often accompanies it. Caritas turned children themselves into advocates for other children with email postcards to spread the message that better paediatric drugs are urgently needed.
Members of Caritas Austria’s Young Caritas group also became child advocates by presenting over 20,000 signatures they had collected to their government at the International AIDS Conference in Vienna in July. Seventeen-year-old Lena Neururer said, “First I used a smile to get people to sign, then second I used the facts and figures.”
The signatures demanded that the Austrian government continue to fund the development of paediatric drugs and testing. Laura Dueler, a young girl from Feldkirch in western Austria, says she put a lot of effort into collecting signatures “because 800 children die each day from a lack of tests and medicines for them. I can do a lot to change this.”
- Intervened at the UN Human Rights Council to advocate for a child’s right to health
- Continued to work closely with UNAIDS
- Addressed the General Assembly of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations to advocate for better ways of treating children with HIV
The Caritas Internationalis Special Advisor on HIV/AIDS also facilitated HIV training for more than 300 people from Church-related groups in Myanmar, including a special session for the Bishop’s Conference of Myanmar, as well as in Bulgaria, Russia and the Philippines.
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