Effect of AIDS on children: the problem of orphans in Uganda

Health Transit Rev. 1997;7 Suppl:23-40.


The problem of orphans is serious in sub-Saharan Africa and has been increasing with the deaths of both parents from AIDS. A study of six districts of Uganda conducted in 1992 investigated the problem. Almost all the orphans are cared for by their extended family members who made the decisions to do so. It is recommended that more assistance be given to the family to enhance its capacity to cope with increased orphans expected in the future.

PIP: Excess mortality due to AIDS is causing the number of orphans and proportion of orphaned children in sub-Saharan Africa to grow daily. Uganda's 1991 population and housing census identified 1,037,228 children under age 18 years who had lost at least one parent, comprising 11.6% of all children in the same age group. 48,962 boys and 47,886 girls had lost both parents. Findings are presented from the analysis of survey data collected during 1992-93 in Iganga, Mbale, Masaka, Mbarara, Kabale, and Hoima districts. There were 4502 orphans under age 18 years in the districts, for an overall orphanhood prevalence rate of 42.7%. Masaka had the highest rate at 64.0%, while Mbarara had the lowest at 21.9%. The average number of orphans per household in the sample was 2.8. Almost all of the orphans are being cared for by their extended family members. More help should be given to families to enable them to better cope with the increased number of orphans expected in the future.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome* / mortality
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child of Impaired Parents*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Foster Home Care / economics
  • Foster Home Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Social Problems*
  • Uganda / epidemiology