Child Community Care Study: Psychosocial well-being of children affected by HIV/AIDS served by community-based programmes
The study is run by Mark Tomlinson Stellenbosch University and Prof. Lorraine Sherr at UCL and, and supported by the Coalition for Children Affected by AIDS (CCABA). It is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency, through a nesting agreement with HelpAge. Partners include several foundations that fund community-based organisations serving children affected by HIV/AIDS.
HIV/AIDS has a substantial impact on children across the globe and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Extensive research into child-related issues, particularly a focus on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, has supported the fight against the disease in children and led to a significant reduction in child infections. However, for the most part, the spotlight has been on treatment and prevention, with relatively little investment in generating evidence on improving the psychosocial well-being of the vast numbers of children infected or affected by HIV. This is in spite of a large volume of research showing the range of factors that place children at risk for poor social, emotional and mental health outcomes.
The small size of many of these community organisations, the lack of local research capacity, the conflict of interest inherent in programme evaluation for funding purposes, high cost and the logistical difficulties of conducting research in vulnerable communities are among the reasons why this type of research is often not conducted.
The study team are following a group of approximately 1000 children attending 28 community-based programmes in South Africa and Malawi. Children and their carers are interviewed using tools examining child, family, community and programme factors. The measures are repeated after 12 months to track changes in psychosocial outcomes, as well as the type and dose of programme support that they are receiving.