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Over 70% of eSwatini children below 17 are AIDS orphans – UN

A United Nations report suggests that about 71 percent of eSwatini children under the age of 17 are orphaned and vulnerable due to the impact of HIV and AIDS.UN resident coordinator Nathalie Ndongo-She said on Tuesday that 46 percent of these children have lost both parents while the 25 percent are left with one parent.

“The vulnerability of these children increased long before the death of a parent or guardian as they often face loss of family, loss of identity, increased malnutrition and reduced opportunity for education,” Ndongo-She said.

She said it was also important to accelerate both individual and combined support for eSwatini so that nutrition programmes and activities could be effectively coordinated in the country.

According to the World Food Programme (WFP), chronic malnutrition is a major concern in eSwatini where stunting is said to affect about 26 percent of children under the age of five.

“eSwatini is vulnerable to drought in the south east. An estimated 77 percent of emaSwati rely on subsistence farming for their livelihoods,” the WFP report states.

The Japanese government this week donated US$535,700 towards the fight against malnutrition in eSwatini.

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