TitleExtended Family Caring for Children Orphaned by AIDS: Balancing Essential Work and Caregiving in a High HIV Prevalence Nations
AuthorsHeymann J., Earle A., Rajaraman D., Miller C., Bogen K.
PublicationAIDS Care. 2007 Apr; 19(3):337-45.
AbstractWhile over 90 per cent of the 15 million children who have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS are cared for by family members, there is little information about whether adults can meet orphans' essential caregiving needs while working to economically survive. Using a survey we conducted in Botswana of 1033 working adults, we analyse the experience of adults who are caring for orphans. Over one-third of working adults were caring for orphans and many with few financial resources: 82% were living on household incomes below US$10 purchasing power parity adjusted per person per day. Because of their caregiving responsibilities, they were less able to supplement income with overtime, weekend, evening, or night work. At the same time caregiving responsibilities meant orphan caregivers spent fewer hours caring for their own children and other family members. Nearly half of orphan caregivers had difficulties meeting their children's needs, and nearly 75% weren't able to meet with children's teachers. Pay loss at work compounded the problems: One-quarter of orphan caregivers reported having to take unpaid leave to meet sick childcare needs and nearly half reported being absent from work for children's routine health care. This paper makes clear that if families are to provide adequate care for orphans while economically surviving there needs to be increases in social supports and improvements in working conditions.