Barriers and incentives to orphan care in a time of AIDS and economic crisis: a cross-sectional survey of caregivers in rural ZimbabweReportar como inadecuado

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BMC Public Health

, 6:27

First Online: 09 February 2006Received: 11 October 2005Accepted: 09 February 2006DOI: 10.1186-1471-2458-6-27

Cite this article as: Howard, B.H., Phillips, C.V., Matinhure, N. et al. BMC Public Health 2006 6: 27. doi:10.1186-1471-2458-6-27


BackgroundAfrica is in an orphan-care crisis. In Zimbabwe, where one-fourth of adults are HIV-positive and one-fifth of children are orphans, AIDS and economic decline are straining society-s ability to care for orphans within their extended families. Lack of stable care is putting thousands of children at heightened risk of malnourishment, emotional underdevelopment, illiteracy, poverty, sexual exploitation, and HIV infection, endangering the future health of the society they are expected to sustain.

MethodsTo explore barriers and possible incentives to orphan care, a quantitative cross-sectional survey in rural eastern Zimbabwe asked 371 adults caring for children, including 212 caring for double orphans, about their well-being, needs, resources, and perceptions and experiences of orphan care.

ResultsSurvey responses indicate that: 1 foster caregivers are disproportionately female, older, poor, and without a spouse; 2 98% of non-foster caregivers are willing to foster orphans, many from outside their kinship network; 3 poverty is the primary barrier to fostering; 4 financial, physical, and emotional stress levels are high among current and potential fosterers; 5 financial need may be greatest in single-orphan AIDS-impoverished households; and 6 struggling families lack external support.

ConclusionIncentives for sustainable orphan care should focus on financial assistance, starting with free schooling, and development of community mechanisms to identify and support children in need, to evaluate and strengthen families- capacity to provide orphan care, and to initiate and support placement outside the family when necessary.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2458-6-27 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Brian H Howard - Carl V Phillips - Nelia Matinhure - Karen J Goodman - Sheryl A McCurdy - Cary A Johnson


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