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Welfare Facilities Staff Trained for HIV/AIDS Knowledge

"We were very sacred," said Feng Liqing, a nurse at the Lincang children welfare facility in southwest China's Yunnan Province, a major region hit by HIV/AIDS in China, while recalling what had happened last summer.


When nurses at the children welfare facility received an orphan from civil affairs officials one summer day, they were very scared -- the kid was found to be HIV positive.


The same fear can be found elsewhere in many of China's welfare facilities today. To address this problem, the China Charity Federation organized this week a first-ever training seminar on HIV/AIDS knowledge for over 100 staffers at children welfare facilities.


"This seminar is to equip them with HIV/AIDS knowledge and to help them treat children affected by HIV/AIDS the same as other kids," said Liu Hongwei, a federation official.


As the HIV infected rate continues to rise, the number of AIDS-caused orphans grows as well. According to statistics from the Chinese Ministry of Health, the number of such children stands beyond 80,000, all living under stigma and discrimination.


A survey done by a professional health organization in China expects the number to grow to up to 200,000 by 2010.


Some 20,000 such children now live in welfare facilities or adoption centers, whose staff generally lack knowledge about AIDS, self-protection and child education.


According to Feng, who also participated in the seminar, in the end the welfare facility set aside one room for the kid alone and hired three village women to take care of him around the clock. The kid was strictly secluded from other kids. "Children often fight and the danger always exists," she said.


Although she knows some basics about the epidemic, she was worried about accidents like minor cuts that often occur in child care.


"The staffers fail to take care of the children out of fear. We hope to help them overcome fear through the training program," said Liu.


The training program includes basic knowledge on AIDS diagnosis, treatment and prevention, psychological treatment for the children and tips for staffers as well as relevant state policies.


After days of study, Feng Liqing said she learned a lot to share with her peers. "I think they will change quite a bit," she said.


(Xinhua News Agency November 2, 2005)


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