Filling the Knowledge Gap on How to Better Serve Children Orphaned by HIV/AIDS

Project Description

Despite a decade of emergency responses to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) due to HIV/AIDS, there remain critical gaps in the research evidence base which can support and guide cost-effective programming of OVC resources. The Orphans and Vulnerable Children Comprehensive Action Research (OVC-CARE) Project has dedicated significant resources to conducting formative research, needs assessments, and data analysis in order to inform OVC strategies and programming. Initially, this research took the form of critical reviews of literature and research situation analyses.

These formative research activities have addressed the most fundamental gaps in information, including questions such as: How big is the problem and who does it affect? Are current programs working, and if not, what will? What will it cost to have a positive impact? Effectively answering these questions for global issues—and local challenges—has allowed the project to provide guidance which will assist policy makers and program implementers to make evidence-based decisions about how best to direct funding and program activities and maximize positive outcomes for vulnerable children and their caretakers.

The CGHD conducted five country OVC research situational analyses in 2009. These reviews were in Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Vietnam, and Zambia. In addition, the center conducted three formative research studies (critical reviews of the literature) into important policy areas. In the first review, costing of OVC services was studied to understand how costing is done and how costs can be linked to OVC outcomes. The second review looked at the unique challenges faced by children of most-at-risk populations, specifically injecting drug users and commercial sex workers. The final review addressed the challenge that as the number of OVC rises, and the capacity of extended families to absorb children is being stretched beyond capacity, new and alternative sources of care are needed urgently in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for OVC.

This project is one activity of the CGHD’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children—Comprehensive Action Research project (OVC-CARE).

Project Details

Principal Investigator Jonathon Simon
Boston University Co-Investigators Jennifer Beard, Godfrey BiembaBruce Larson
  • Kenya: University of Nairobi, Institute for Development Studies
  • Namibia: PharmAccess Foundation, Namibia
  • Nigeria: Initiative for Integrated Community Welfare in Nigeria
  • Vietnam: Hanoi School of Public Health
  • Zambia: University of Zambia, Institute for Economic and Social Research
Country(ies) Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Zambia, Global
Dates of Research 2008–2011