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Circumstances of Orphan and Non-orphan Children and their Care Providers in Mwanza, Tanzania

Doris Mbata, Yusufu Komogola, Sarah Walters, Gabriel Mwaluko, Raphael Isingo, John Changalucha, Jan Baaroy, Basia Zaba, Mark Urassa

Unpublished report for UNICEF

Context: HIV prevalence in Tanzania is now estimated at 9% with estimated 4 million PLWHA. The epidemic has had serious impact in terms of increased mortality and the number of orphans. There are currently about 2 million orphans in the country the majority of whose parents died because of HIV/AIDS.  This study compares circumstances of orphans, foster children and children in nuclear families in Kisesa Ward, Magu District, Mwanza Region in Tanzania.  Mortality among children of HIV infected mothers is 158 per 1000 compared to 76 per 1000 among HIV negative mothers. The number of orphans (from all causes) in this population has also increased in the past ten years. A total of 915 orphans were recorded in 1994 against, 1600 in 2004. These orphans constituted the study population for this research.
Study design: This report is based on five questionnaires administered to orphans and foster children in two age groups (6 to 12 and 13 to 19), children in nuclear families in the same age groups, and a questionnaire for primary caregivers of all of these children. It compares circumstances in terms of living arrangements, characteristics of care-providers, health, education, socio-economic status, employment, psychosocial wellbeing and sexual behaviour of children. We consider indicators of vulnerability at both the household and the individual level. An important contribution of this study to the existing literature on orphanhood and vulnerability in Africa is the comparison of orphans with children who are not living with both parents and with children in nuclear families. This allows us to identify the extent to which the relatively disadvantaged compared to other children, how far foster children can also be said to be at risk, and to what extent all children in other community suffer the effects of poverty and insecurity.  The report disaggregates information on the wellbeing of children and households, considering age and sex of child and well as sex of the deceased or absent parent and age and sex of the primary carer. Our primary research questions are:
•           To what extent should orphans be seen as especially vulnerable?
•           How far do the circumstances of orphans and foster children differ?
•           Which sub-groups of children and households are particularly disadvantaged?
Study Objectives:
•           Identify key vulnerable children and households, by sex and age of the child; sex of deceased/absent parent and sex and age of the primary caregiver
•           Identify key areas of vulnerability, considering living arrangements, health, nutrition, education, socio-economic status, psychosocial wellbeing, employment, sexual behaviour and HIV/AIDS Knowledge Attitude and Practice (KAP) among care providers and children 

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