Impact of HIV on Early Childhood Development

Wednesday, 9 July 2008: 10:50 AM
Zahra Shaheen, BScN, RN, IBCLC , Catco Kids, Inc, Catco Kids Inc, Karachi, Pakistan
Zohra Kurji, BScN, RN, IBCLC , School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
Yasmin Murad Mithani, RN, RM, BScN, IBCLC , School of Nursing, The Aga Khan University School of Nursing, Karachi, Pakistan
Shehnaz Rashid, BScN, RN, IBCLC , Lactation Clinic, Maternal and Child Health Center, Sharjah. Ministry of Health, UAE, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

Learning Objective 1: Describe the impact of HIV in children contracting HIV, on their early childhood development (ECD)

Learning Objective 2: Describe nurses’ role in early childhood development of children with HIV through integration of ECD concept and UNICEF’s Convention on Children Rights.

This paper will describe how HIV in children impacts on their early childhood development (ECD), which is the most rapid period of development in human life. A child's early years are critically important but many of the children either who have HIV or whose parents are suffering from HIV, spend their critical early years under stress, stigma from society, poverty, and lack of nutrition which adversely affects their physical as well as mental health and performance, in addition to their productivity later in life.

UNICEF, in consensus with its Convention on Rights of the Child, sets out a list of rights for children. These must be realized for their subsequent development that maximizes their potential, preserves their human dignity, and eliminates their hunger. This suggests a new perspective to the vision of early childhood development. Children are neither the property of their parents nor are they the helpless objects of charity. They are human beings and are the subject of their own rights.

Various studies reflect that children having HIV are vulnerable to unhealthy social habits and risky sexual behavior; and often turn to prostitution for survival. Moreover many of them are enrolled in school.

This paper will also highlight the role of nurse in Early Childhood Development (ECD). In consideration of the vulnerabilities of HIV children, the UNICEF's Convention on Children Rights, and the integration of the concept of ECD; it's the co responsibility of the community/ public health nurse and other health and ECD professionals to cater to the holistic needs of children 0-8 years of age. These needs can be addressed through antenatal counseling, lactation counseling, awareness sessions on healthy behaviors, and assessment of school readiness either in the community health centers or via home visits.