Assesment of the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children within central division, Mwingi District Kenya
Mwende, Patricia Nzilu
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The number of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children in the world is expected to rise to 25 million by the year 2010. In Kenya, the number of orphans is expected to rise to 2 million by 2010. These children have limited access to physical, psychosocial and economic support thus making them among the most vulnerable of our society. A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the needs of Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVC) within Central Division of Mwingi District, Kenya. A total of 400 orphans and 90 caregivers were included in the study. The study set out to determine the needs, factors influencing provision of needs and the constraints in the provision of needs of these children. Data was collected using pre-tested structured open-ended questionnaires for orphans and caregivers. SPSS was used for analysis and Chi-square test for goodness-of-fit was used to test for the relationship between variables. The results indicated that, 61.1% of the caregivers and 51.0% OVC were females. Most OVC (51.0%) were aged 11 to 15 years and 58.0% had been orphaned for over 3 years. Majority (36.7%) of the care givers were aged 41-50 years and 62.2% were unemployed. Majority (85.0%) of the OVC attended school with no significant difference between girls and boys in school attendance (p> 0.05). The reasons for not attending school were: lack of school uniforms, school levies, looking after other siblings and working in order to earn income to feed the family. Most OVC (42.0%) rarely or occasionally (41.0%) fell sick. The most prevalent disease condition was malaria (43.0%) and coughing (18.0%). The health seeking behaviour of the OVC was good with the majority (91.0%) attending hospital when sick while only (9.0%) did not. The reasons for lack of medical care were: lack of drugs in hospital (100.0%), lack of money for medical fee (87.5%) and overcrowding in the hospitals (87.5%). There was a significant relationship between gender and taking OVC for regular medical check up (P(0.05). Majority of the caregivers (94.4%) who did not take OVC for under their care for regular medical check up were females as compared to the males (77.1%). There was a significant association between lack of medical care for OVC and the care givers occupation, education level and the number of children in the household at (P<0.05). Physical needs of the OVC were food (77.0%), clothing (76.0%), and shelter (30.0%). Food needs of the OVC were met by relatives (52.0%), grandparents (36.0%), mothers (35.0%) and the government (30.0%). The psychosocial needs of the OVC were parental guidance (36.0%) love and affection (16.0%). There was a significant difference between the gender of OVC and the psychosocial needs at (p P<0.05). Over 26% of caregivers had children who had been discriminated. However OVC had mostly experienced discrimination in school (100.0%) and when playing with other children (58.3%) out of school. The findings of this study are important in the formulation of policies regarding orphaned and vulnerable children. In addition, this study will be of use to social service providers in planning, Implementation, monitoring and evaluation of effective service delivery to the orphaned and vulnerable children.