Cotlands curbs HIV deaths among kids

COTLANDS was established 73 years ago after a baby was left abandoned on Dorothy Reece's doorstep in Mayfair, Johannesburg.

COTLANDS was established 73 years ago after a baby was left abandoned on Dorothy Reece's doorstep in Mayfair, Johannesburg.

"One of the greatest achievements of Cotlands' proud history has been the significant impact that antiretroviral therapy (ART) has had on reducing the death rate among HIV-infected children," says executive director Jackie Schoeman.

Last year 15 children in the care of Cotlands died across thecountry.

"Although this is still 15 children too many, it is a marked reduction from the hundreds who died every year before ART became available," Schoeman said at this year's Cotlands yearly general meeting.

According to Schoeman, their latest innovation are the toy libraries that allow beneficiaries, primarily individual families and early childhood development centres, to access a wide variety of toys which, without this intervention, they would normally be unable to access.

She said the organisation was lucky to have the assistance of four MBA students from IMD, a leading business school in Switzerland.

The students last year undertook a detailed analysis of Cotlands and made many recommendations, which the centre took into consideration during its strategic planning session.

"Most interesting was how much more expensive residential care is in comparison to community outreach.

"Although we have been aware of this for some time, seeing the figures laid out in black and white has compelled us to intensify our focus on community outreach programmes," she said.

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