The impact of HIV and AIDS in Cameroon carries both an economic and social phase. AIDS is fast reducing Cameroon’s labour force and making life difficult for many small-income families. The direct costs of AIDS including extensive expenditures for medical care, drugs, and funeral expenses as well as huge indirect costs such as time loss to illness and care of orphans have left many affected households impoverished. Their situation is further compounded by:
1. Limited access to essential services
Children affected by HIV are less likely to attend school compared to other children of their age. Most affected households are unable, for economic reasons, to pay school fees and other levies recommended keeping the children in school. Even in households, which were capable of affording the education of the children, they hardly commit resources to support the children because of discrimination against the affected children. Lessons learned from the implementation of OVC support programs in the country have shown that the poor economic situation of HIV affected households is the main barrier for OVC accessing education and other essential services such as health care and regular meals.
2. Poor Economic situation of affected households
The burden of HIV and AIDS on the entire household is enormous with direct impact on household assets. Evidence shows that HIV and AIDS diminishes household productivity, income levels and diminishes the ability to acquire and own physical assets. Affected families often sell property to pay for treatment or to support most vital services such as feeding. Affected households are therefore less resilient to the shocks that come about because of the illness as well as other competing basic services such as children’s education, feeding, clothing, and adequate housing. Face with this situation, affected households are bound to choose some services over others and often, the children’s education, access to health care and proper nutrition are some of the services that are jeopardized.
With this backdrop, OFLIC Cameroon is sourcing out support to cover stationery, essential books, uniforms and school fees for at least 1,500 OVC. The annual cost per child is 90 EURO. With this support, the target OVC will be able to concentrate on their studies and improve upon their class performances.