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Effects of HIV/AIDS on children in Swaziland: is the extended family coping?

James Ntozi, Makerere University
Thandi Khumalo, University of Swaziland

In 2004, Swaziland recorded the highest prevalence of HIV among pregnant women in the world ever at 43%. Due to many deaths of parents, an orphan crisis has been created in the country. About a third of the AIDS orphans are double orphans who have lost both parents and are most cared for by grand parents who are too old, weak and poor to provide for them adequately. Many of these double orphans are living in child headed households unable to support them. Most of the rest of orphans lost more fathers than mothers. The surviving mothers are too sickly and poor to fend for the families. The extended family which is the traditional safety net for orphans is overwhelmed by the crisis. Alternative structures have been set up to manage the crisis. Does this mean the extended family system has failed to cope?

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Presented in Session 42: Effects of HIV/AIDS on children