Health Check

Health Check

Last Updated: Monday, 23 March 2009, 10:32 GMT

Claudia Hammond at Bongolethu School in Lower Crossroads outside Capetown

Claudia Hammond at Bongolethu School in Lower Crossroads outside Capetown

South Africa has more people with the HIV virus than anywhere else in the world and this means that millions of children care for their sick and dying parents - and then find themselves orphaned.

Health Check this week reports from South Africa on a major new study - the world's biggest - which aims to find out exactly how many young people are looking after others and what effect it's having on them.

Claudia Hammond visits Bongolethu School in the Lower Crossroads township and finds out from teachers and pupils about the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on children's lives.

In a heart-breaking interview, Zentu tells Claudia about losing her mother and the school's principal describes the impact on his pupils of high levels of sickness and bereavement.

Related links:

Oxford University Department of Social Policy and Social Work: Dr Lucie Cluver
Oxford University: Department of Social Policy and Social Work: Young carers for AIDS-unwell guardians
Professor Marian Jacobs, Dean of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town

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