HC Deb 25 February 1991 vol 186 c644
35. Mr. Butler

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information he has on the number of children in sub-Saharan Africa who are likely to be orphaned as a result of AIDS; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Chalker

In the analysis for UNICEF, covering 10 African countries, the data are all estimated and based on selected assumptions. Therefore, the data must not be used as though they were exact. They can indicate only that during the 1990s between 3 million and 5.5 million of the 50 million children under 15 years of age by 1999 may be without mothers.

Mr. Butler

My right hon. Friend will be aware that according to the ODA's own research, one eighth of all children in the Rakai district of Uganda are orphaned and that that may be connected with the 30 to 40 per cent. HIV positivity rate among young adults there. If that trend continues unabated in sub-Saharan Africa, is not a disaster looming?

Mrs. Chalker

We believe that the situation in Rakai may be far worse than in other areas. As I tried to explain in my letter of 18 February, it is not right to extrapolate from those figures to the rest of Africa. When dealing with this terrible disease, we must beware speculation. We are doing a great deal through the World Health Organisation's global programme on AIDS to help with the AIDS factor and we shall continue to do so.

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