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25.08.2005 Health

27 Percent of Ghanaian Orphans Live With Aids

Ghanaian Chronicle

Basic statistics provided by Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Ghana puts the prevalence of orphans at an alarming rate.

This is in spite of the implementation of several legal and policy framework documents for promoting social protection of poor and vulnerable children in the country.

The OVCs indicates 27% of all orphans in the country are living with the world's most dreaded HIV/AIDS, out of which 58%, all of households caring for these orphans, are said to be female headed.

Sentimental surveillance results increased steadily from 2.3% in the year 2000 to 2.9% in 2001.

In 2002, it recorded an increase of 3.4% and rose to a 3.6% in the year 2003.

Probably due to a slight attitudinal change, a first reduction was recorded of 3.1% in 2004.

The estimated number of OVCs, according to the 2003 Ghana demographic and health survey, is 204,000 and it is estimated that the number will rise to 291,000 by 2015.

The first case of HIV/AIDS recorded in Ghana was reported in the year 1986; it increased from 2 in 1986 to 4,8771 in 2002.

The prevalence rate of the pandemic also skyrocketed to 64,361 in the same 2002 and 79,139 by December 2003.

UNICEF has described orphans as children under18 years who have lost at least one or both parents to AIDS or any other cause.

At the global level, the situation is obviously dire, hence the need for a drastic and efficient attitudinal change towards children, especially orphans.

At the global level, it is estimated that 37.8million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world are adults, with the virus being the leading cause of death worldwide for people aged between 15-49years.

4.8million people were said to be affected in the year 2003, out of which 2.9 million died of AIDS in the very same year.

It is estimated that by the year 2010, 106 million people under the age of 15 years are projected to lose one or both parents.

Among them, the number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS is expected to jump to more than 25 million.

Indications are that AIDS is more likely to create double orphans; this is feared since it is worse than single orphans.

By the end of the year 2003 alone, there were 7.7 million double orphans in the sub-Saharan Africa.

Around this same period, an estimated 15 million children under the age of 18 had been orphaned by the pandemic.

Of this whopping figure, it is believed that 8 out every ten of these children are living in sub Saharan Africa.

Statistics further put Botswana as having the highest rate of orphans in sub Saharan Africa.

Also, in South Africa, 20% of all households with children are caring for one or more orphans.