This study provides estimates of the size and distribution of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in eight sub-Saharan African countries with relatively high HIV prevalence (Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe), and assesses their situation over several dimensions including schooling and health care. The study uses data collected in recent nationally representative Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and AIDS Indicator Surveys (AIS) that included HIV testing of adult women and men. The study highlights the heavy burden and the multi-dimensional nature of the OVC problem in sub-Saharan Africa. While considerable attention is already being given to the needs of orphaned children, the findings of this study reinforce the need to strengthen child welfare programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Notably in urgent need are children made vulnerable by parental HIV infection or chronic household illness. The findings regarding vulnerabilities of adolescent OVC suggest the need to strengthen programs to promote continued schooling and sexual abstinence among youth. Finally, the levels of external care and support for OVC remain unacceptably low, needing vigorous efforts to reach a large and growing population of OVC and their families in the region.
Macro International Inc.
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