Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

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Psychosocial attributes of orphaned youths in Ibadan Metropolis: implications for reproductive health

Olayinka O Omigbodun


Context: The HIV mortality surge in Sub-Saharan Africa has brought a new focus on the plight of orphaned youths.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of orphans and associated psychosocial and reproductive health factors in rural and urban secondary school youths in Southwest Nigeria across two age groups, adolescents aged 17 years and below and youth aged 18-24 years.

Methods: A total of 1850 youth from 20 schools in 3 urban and 2 rural school districts in South-western Nigeria had the self-administered instruments: Global School Health Questionnaire to assess reproductive and other health indices and the Culture Free Self Esteem Inventory.

Results: The overall prevalence of orphans was 10.1 % (15.5% in rural and 8.2% in urban areas}. Most differences between orphans and non-orphans were found in the 9-17 year age group where orphans were more likely to live in rural areas, emerge from polygamous families, have parents with no formal education and have to work. In this group also, orphans were more likely to have 'ever had sexual intercourse' than non-orphans (24% versus 16.7%; xsup>2= 4.13; df:1; p = 0.042) and were also more likely to 'have had sexual intercourse in the past 12 months' (15.8% versus 9.2%; x2= 5.4; df:1; p = 0.020). For the 18-24 year age group, there are no significant differences in sexual behaviour.

Conclusion: Policy makers and implementers need to draw up programmes to address the reproductive health needs of orphans, particularly those aged 17 years and under.

Keywords: orphans, youth, psychosocial, reproductive health

Tropical Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Vol. 23(1) 2006: 54-62
AJOL African Journals Online