• Swaziland is the worst affected country in the world by HIV/AIDS, where more than half
of the pregnant women are affected by the virus.
• Mortality among children under 5 has doubled due to AIDS, a major setback to the efforts of more than 30 years.
• Unicef is developing more than 30 other programmes in the country and knows the best mechanisms for actions and collaboration.
• Unicef has recommended that this should be the country where their alliance with the Foundation and FC Barcelona should concentrate in its first year.
• A 'National Strategic Plan for the Fight against HIV/AIDS’ has been signed between the Government and Unicef for 2006-2010, where the priorities and lines of action for combating the disease are clearly set out.
• Because the contribution made by the Foundation and FC Barcelona could “make a difference” and show that with the proper, sustained resources the whole country can spread AIDS control programmes to the rural and difficult to access regions.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROGRAMME IN SWAZILAND:
The Programme to be carried out in Swaziland is based on the ‘'National Strategic Plan for the Fight against HIV/AIDS’ of 2006-2010 signed by the Government of Swaziland and Unicef, to specifically benefit the most vulnerable communities, women and children. The Foundation, within the already nationally established plan, will be working on what are known as the 4 P’s:
• Prevention of infection: work with children and adolescents at risk of social exclusion, to give them the support they need to be able to escape the vicious circle of poverty and marginality they are in, learning the right skills to make progress, and with a special emphasis on teaching girls about safe sex with their partners.
• Prevention of mother-child transmission: contributing to providing national and decentralised information to pregnant women so that they know where they stand with respect to HIV, and the measures and treatments that can reduce the risk of passing the virus on to their babies.
• Paediatric treatment: boys and girls have until now been the “hidden face” of the epidemic. Progress has gradually been made in providing access to antiretroviral treatment for adults. It is estimated that less than 7% of people needing treatment are getting it, but it is the situation with little children that is most worrying. There is a lack of proper paediatric training, a lack of alternatives when the basic medicines don’t work, a lack of interest shown by pharmaceutical companies in developing products for children in poor countries given that they are unable to pay for them, and there is a problem with patents, copyright and generic medicines that have made paediatric treatment something of a utopia, especially in most deprived parts of the planet, where most young children are infected. One of the main challenges of the programme is to expand paediatric antiretroviral treatment and other treatments to rural areas.
• Protection and support of orphans and other children at risk: Another of the programme’s main goals will be to provide psycho-social support, access to education, health care and adequate nutrition to children that are orphaned as a result of AIDS and other children at risk. Sport, and especially football, will play a major role in this “integrated programme”, for it is through sport that we want to be able to put smiles back on the faces of children that have lost the notion of play and leisure, where the fight for survival for some children who are the heads of families at the age of 12-13 and need to look after their younger brothers and sisters has meant there is no time left for them to enjoy childhood as they should.
After the first year of the alliance, the Fundació FC Barcelona will, together with Unicef, make an exhaustive analysis of the programme and the results achieved over the first period. Work plans will be drawn up each year and technical and economic analysis reports will be prepared by Unicef, while experts from the Foundation itself will be visiting regularly to view the progress made and results achieved. In making each annual plan, the destination and beneficiaries of the donations will be decided, with particular attention given to the main lines of action of the Foundation, which include helping the most vulnerable children on the planet that are living in critical situations and at risk of social exclusion, deprived of all protection and faced by the viscous circle of poverty and marginality which is only perpetuating the exploitation and abuse to which they are subjected.