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Aim: Increasing number of orphans will adversely affect the existing facilities and best practices in orphanages if there are no plans to accommodate the anticipated increase in demands. There is the need therefore, to assess the facilities and best practices in orphanages in view to obtain information necessary for provision and improvement of care of these vulnerable groups of children.
Methods: Ten registered and functional orphanages were assessed between January and May 2011. A researcher administered questionnaire on the best practices such as adequacy of school enrolment, nutritional status, housing and security, the availability of potable water, playground/ playing materials and the adequacy of child-caregivers ratio was used to obtain information about the orphanages and the findings were compared with the standard practices.
Results: Mean year of operation of the orphanages was 16.9 (95%CL 3.1, 30.7) years. Total number of children in all the 10 orphanages was 150 (males 62 [41.3%] and females 88 [58.7%]); mean age [SD] 7.0 [4.6] years. Although school enrolment in all the orphanages was good, however, there was poor child-caregiver ratio in 7 orphanages. Most of the children in the orphanages were stunted and was significantly observed in older children (p < 0.001) and in children who had stayed longer in the orphanages (p = 0.001). Over-crowding and inadequate toilet facilities were observed in 4 orphanages. Only one (10.0%) of the 10 orphanages, however, met all the best standard practices assessed.
Conclusion: Adherence to best practices in most of the orphanages assessed in this study was poor.
Keywords: best practices, caregiver, Nigeria, orphanage, orphans, overcrowding,