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Journal of Social Development in Africa

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Parental survival, living arrangements and school enrolment of children in Malawi in the era of HIV/AIDS

Henry V Doctor

Abstract


Using the 1998 Malawi census data, this paper examined the level of orphanhood, the pattern of living arrangements and the effect of poverty on the school enrolment of children in Malawi during a period when adult HIV/AIDS prevalence had reached epidemic proportions. Results show that the proportion of orphans increases with age. By the age of 14, more than two per cent of children have lost both parents, about 11 per cent have lost a father and about 6.5 per cent have lost a mother. The rural areas are home to the majority of the orphans and the southern region has a higher proportion of orphans than the northern and central regions. Girls and boys seem to be faced by the same constraints in household circumstances and educational opportunities, suggesting that there is no gender bias in allocating household resources or providing educational opportunities in Malawi. The differences in enrolment rates between orphans and non-orphans are insignificant. These findings are consistent with results from other countries that are hit hard by the AIDS epidemic and point to the critical role of the extended family system in taking care of the disadvantaged and vulnerable children.

Key Words: HIV/AIDS, orphans, Malawi, school enrolment, sub Saharan Africa

Jnl of Social Development in Africa Vol.19(1) 2004: 31-56



http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/jsda.v19i1.23879
AJOL African Journals Online