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Tuesday 27 December 2005
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NIGERIA: Notable rise in AIDS orphans - UNICEF


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


JOHANNESBURG, 16 June (PLUSNEWS) - HIV/AIDS is set to fuel a notable increase in Nigeria's orphan numbers, the UN Children Fund (UNICEF) warned on Thursday in a statement to mark the 'Day of the African Child'.

According to an assessment of orphans and vulnerable children, conducted in 2004 with help from the UN body, there were about seven million orphans by 2003, with 800,000 more added during the year as a result of the pandemic.

UNICEF spokeswoman Christine Jaulmes said, "Out of this total number, about 1.8 million are orphaned by AIDS. With the spread of the disease, the number of orphans is expected to increase rapidly in the coming years to 8.2 million by 2010."

The children's agency noted that low public awareness of the magnitude of the plight of orphans and vulnerable children, and limited action by the government, accounted for the fact that responses were still mostly confined to families and communities.

[ENDS]

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