Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development
Drucken Weitersagen regular text versionlarge text version

A generation at risk: psychosocial support for Africa’s children


International Symposium
4 December 2012
Basel, Switzerland


Over 16 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents to HIV and AIDS, and most of them live in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to those affected by chronic illness and death, many other children are confronted by the challenges of poverty and conflict. These vulnerable children face material hardship, socio-economic disadvantage, social stigma, emotional isolation and psychological trauma. Such consequences carry far-reaching social effects for many countries, and pose a threat to longer-term development. We risk losing a generation of children made vulnerable by poverty, conflict, HIV and AIDS.

For 10 years, the Regional Psychosocial Support Initiative (REPSSI), co-founded and supported by the Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development, has developed state-of-the-art psychosocial support tools to help children cope with their loss and regain confidence. Governments, international organizations, NGOs and other actors have become increasingly aware of the particular social and emotional needs of children and have worked to incorporate these tools into healthcare, poverty alleviation and education programs. This year’s Novartis Foundation Symposium invites esteemed speakers and experts to assess psychosocial approaches and discuss various interventions that strive to ensure mental health and wellbeing for Africa’s children. 


What is psychosocial care and support?

Psychosocial care and support (PSS) focuses on the social and emotional needs of an individual and forms part of a comprehensive and holistic understanding of health and wellbeing. A person’s emotional, spiritual, social, cultural, physical, political, mental and economic needs are all essential for meaningful and positive aspects of human development.


Book on psychosocial support

All symposium participants will receive a complimentary copy of a new book by Richard Gerster, "Afrikas verwaiste Generationen: wie Kinder von Aidsopfern eine Zukunft erhalten." The book not only provides valuable insight into the situation of the families and children affected by HIV and AIDS, but also explores the contribution of REPSSI and its partners in building up state-of-the-art psychosocial support for children in Africa. The book was recently published in German and is available for sale at bookstores. The English version will be available to download as an e-book later this year. 


Publications (foundation / partner organizations)

Africa's Orphaned Generations
It Takes more than a Village to Raise a Child
Download > [en] (PDF, 8.5 MB)


REPSSI: Psychosocial support for vulnerable children
Project description
Download > [de], [en] (PDF, 1.3 MB)


Newsletter express No. 1/12, March 2012
Psychosocial support for orphaned and vulnerable children
Download > [en] (PDF, 1.7 MB)


Newsletter express No. 3/11, September 2011
All our children - 2011 and beyond
Download > [en] (PDF, 1.0 MB)


Symposium 2014

Sustainable healthcare interventions: from blueprint to lasting impact

Register now!

Annual report 2012

The annual report 2012 of the Novartis Foundation is now available.

Order a copy or download the electronic version

Archive >


Driving innovative approaches in the fight against leprosy

Driving innovative approaches in the fight against leprosy

Download >
[en] (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Subscribe to our e-mail newsletter

Access to healthcare

Hanifa Mduwike had Malaria when she was two years old. more...

Obstacles to prompt and effective malaria treatment lead to low community-coverage
Download > [en] (PDF, 356 KB)