The socio-demographic factors of children orphaned by aids in Benin City, Nigeria
AbstractIntroduction: The HIV/AIDS pandemic has posed a formidable health problem especially in sub-Sahara Africa. In Nigeria, AIDS orphans is on the increase and as December 2003, Nigeria had about I million AIDS orphans. The death of parents living with HIV/AIDS and the changing socio-economic outlook may affect the number of AIDS orphans and their care. This study was undertaken to assess the socio-demographic characteristics of HIV/AIDS orphans seen in the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).
Patients and Methods: Consecutive children who have lost at least one parent to HIV/AIDS, and presented to the Child Health facilities of the UBTH, between 1996 December 2003 were enrolled for the study. The bio data of the child and parents were obtained. Some socio-demographic parameters were determined. The HIV status of the child and parents, surviving or deceased was ascertained.
Results: Of the 102 HIV patients seen in the period under review, 14(13.7%) were AIDS orphans. Their ages ranged from 2 to 102 months with a mean of 49 ± 35.4 months. Majority of the orphans were under five. Most had stopped schooling and childhood vaccination because of illness. The present caregivers of the orphans were relations in 50% of cases and in the other half, surviving parents. Most, 11(78.6%) of the children died either in hospital or on follow-up. Two are alive and on anti-retroviral drugs.
Conclusion: The percentage of HIV patients that are orphans in this study is significant. The morbidities in the orphans had deprived them of early childhood education and immunization. Breastfeeding of all the orphans may have compounded the seemingly high mother to child HIV transmission. There is an urgent need for the government and NGOs to attend to rising AIDS orphan problems in Nigeria.
Sahel Medical Journal Vol. 8(3) 2005: 76-78