SPATIO-TEMPORAL VARIATIONS IN ORPHANHOOD: ANALYSIS OF THE EFFECTS OF AIDS AND TRADITIONAL VERSUS MODERN INSTITUTIONAL COPING MECHANISM
Geographical aspects of HIV and AIDS orphanhood are better understood within the context of broader HIV and AIDS issues and patterns. This understanding must be integrated with population dynamics and their change over space and time for a better comprehension of the phenomenon.
In Kenya, the geography of HIV and AIDS at sub-population level is still at its infancystage, particularly the spatial and temporal variations and patterns in orphanhood. This study therefore sought to investigate the effects of AIDS on orphanhood. Specific focus was given to spatio-temporal variations in orphan numbers and movement, and traditional versus modern institutional coping mechanisms in the larger Kisumu District, Kenya. One of the main study questions was to identify the spatio-temporal migration levels and patterns of orphans into the larger Kisumu District. The study employed a multi-method approach using quantitative and qualitative methods. A sequential approach was selected, which first employed quantitative methods to gather baseline information on orphan care, spatiotemporal variations in orphanhood, and orphan movements. Qualitative methods were later used to get deeper insights on orphan care challenges and survival mechanisms. The study, based on a sample size of 420 respondents, used cluster sampling approach with proportion to size. Data from the two approaches were
triangulated for validation.
The study revealed that HIV and AIDS was largely responsible for the high and growing number of orphans in the larger Kisumu District. High AIDS-related adult mortality rates in the district together with constant in flow of orphans from other districts and regions were responsible for the observed high number of orphans in the district. Though the majority of orphans were born in the district, a sizable
number (about 30 percent) migrated from elsewhere. Logistic regression results showed that an orphan’s lack of access to food and education, and exposure to stigma and physical abuse were significantly related to orphan movement at p < 0.05. Unique spatial and temporal variations in orphan levels and patterns were clearly evident at every administrative unit. Though the urban locations were
marked by high absolute orphan numbers, rural locations had reported higher orphan prevalence in the recent past. Due to overwhelming orphan care needs, lack of orphan care skills and rampant poverty in the study area, orphan care remains a big challenge. Pearson’s Chi-square (X2) test results revealed that certain orphan and care provider background characteristics were associated with specific orphan care challenges. An orphan’s level of education (read age) and sex were found to be associated with access to food, clothing, shelter and exposure to stigma. Careprovider’s sex, level of education, type of employment, placeof residence, currentmarital status, and relation with an orphan were found to be significantly related to an orphan’s access to food, shelter, clothing, education, parental love, and exposure
to stigma, physical and sexual abuse.
In conclusion, HIV and AIDS was largely responsible for high adult mortality leading to unprecedented levels of orphanhood in the study area. Two demographic
processes; parental mortality and orphan migration have largely shaped orphan distribution in terms of space and time in the study area. High orphan numbers, poverty and lack of orphan care skills pose the greatest challenge to orphan care in the larger Kisumu District. The study recommends that in the short term, material and technical support should be given to care providers as long term strategies are sought to deal with endemic poverty in the region. There is equally need for policy formulation in care and support of orphans to help streamline its provision in the country. Since the geography of orphanhood is still at infancy stage, it is recommended that more studies be carried out on orphan migration covering both in-and-out-migrations in different contexts