Zambia will see about one million or 20 percent of all its children be orphaned by 2015 if effective policies and strategies are not put in place, a government official has said.
Acting Health Minister Ronnie Shikapwasha was cited by The Post on Friday as saying HIV/AIDS had left an estimated 750,000 orphans in the country, most of whom will have no hope of obtaining formal education.
Shikapwasha made the remarks during the third annual joint review of the national HIV/AIDS strategic framework and operations of the National AIDS Council in Lusaka on Thursday.
"It has been estimated that six percent of these children are in streets and less than one percent live in orphanages," he said.
However, the Untied Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that the number of street children in Zambia may be as high as 75,000 or 10 percent of the total orphans.
Almost half of Zambia's 10 million population are children under age 15, and the poor southern African country has an adult HIV/AIDS rate of 16.5 percent.
Shikapwasha said without effective policies and strategies for rendering support to the children, it was likely that they would become the next generation of the poor.
"Support to orphans and vulnerable children through improving access to education, health care, nutrition, food, house and a stable family is essential," the minister said.
He pointed out that to tackle the HIV/AIDS problem in a sufficient manner, Zambia would need to double the amount of staff such as doctors and counseling personnel as well as to double the amount of money that was now in use.
"We are lacking 50 to 60 percent of staff and 50 percent funding," Shikapwasha said.