Consolidating Systems and Services for the Management of Orphans and Vulnerable
Children in Cameroon (CoSMO).
Children in Cameroon (CoSMO).
The CoSMO Project seeks to improve overall well-being among children and families infected and affected by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), through the delivery of high-quality services that address protection, education, health, and socioeconomic status. Specifically, CoSMO strengthens the capacity of households to ensure that children are healthy, safe, stable, and schooled through family-based case management. This approach is expected to reduce both the incidence of HIV infections among children below the age of 18 as well as the morbi-mortality among these children and their caregivers. For a sustained impact, CoSMO will strengthen the capacities of local institutions and community providers to protect, care for, and support Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC).
HIV/AIDS is a major public health challenge in Cameroon. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates about 500,000 people are living with HIV (PLHIV) in Cameroon including 33,000 children below the age of 15 years (UNAIDS, 2021). In 2014, UNAIDS released a set of ambitious targets calling for 95% of PLHIV knowing their status, 95% of people who know their status to be on antiretroviral therapy (ART), and 95% of people on ART to achieve viral suppression by 2030.
Cameroon has made significant progress towards achieving and sustaining epidemic control using evidence-based, equitable, people-centered HIV prevention and treatment services. However, progress among children and adolescents living with HIV especially those less than 15 years, lags disproportionately behind that of adults. (AIDS Research and Therapy, 2019).
As such, the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) is consolidating the gains of the former OVC project called KIDSS to build a sustainable community-led program that addresses key challenges along the HIV care and treatment cascade with particular emphasis on HIV prevention, case finding, care and treatment, and retention of children/adolescents living with HIV (CLHIV) through the “Consolidating Systems and Services for the Management of OVC in Cameroon” project, made possible through the generous support of the American people.
NECC partners with 15 Faith Based Institutions and 11 Civil Society Organizations to reach OVC and their caregivers in 68 health districts nationwide. These CoSMO Sub Recipient –Implementing Partners may vary along the life of the project as per need and/or performance. Through collaboration with CDC/PEPFAR Clinical Implementing Partners, NECC supports case findings, linkages, and community care and support services for children under 18 living with, affected by, or at risk of acquiring HIV, and their caregivers in line with the PEPFAR Cameroon Country Operational Plan 2022 priorities of boosting retention. NECC also collaborates with Cameroon line ministries of Public Health, Social Affairs, Women’s Empowerment and the Family, Employment and Vocational Training and that of Youth Affairs and Civic Education to address the needs of OVC.
CoSMO targets the following groups of beneficiaries to deliver a comprehensive package of services to over 65,321 OVC and their households yearly.
- C/ALHIV below 18 years with High Viral Load (HVL);
- C/ALHIV below 18 years experiencing treatment interruption or at risk of treatment interruption;
- Newly diagnosed HIV positive Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women (PBFW)/teen moms;
- HIV positive PBFW (teen moms) with HVL;
- HIV positive pregnant PBFW / teen moms on treatment interruption;
- HIV-Exposed Infants (HEIs) missing Early Infant Diagnosis;
- Children of adults living with HIV and children who have lost one or both parents to AIDS
- Survivors of sexual violence below the age of 18 years;
- Children of female sex workers.
To be achieved through improved delivery of services to PBFW and HEIs and also by improving access to quality prevention services among adolescents aged 10-17.
To be achieved through improved HIV case identification and linkage to ART among C/ALHIV < 18 years and their caregivers; by facilitating adherence, retention, and viral load uptake and suppression among children on ART below the age of 18 and their caregivers; as well reducing the impact of malnutrition and other non-HIV related diseases among OVC and their household members.
By economically empowering families to meet basic needs; by ensuring school-age children access education and learning opportunities; and by making it possible for children aged 0-17 years to be raised in safe and nurturing environments.
By improving performance of local institutions and community workers according to defined competencies; and by improving government institutions’ capacities to effectively manage the OVC program.