Academic journal article Journal of Social Research & Policy

Aids-Orphanhood and Human Capital Development in Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Social Research & Policy

Aids-Orphanhood and Human Capital Development in Nigeria

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study employs the descriptive method of analysis and growth rate to determine the effect of high number of AIDS Orphans on human capital development in Nigeria. The available facts reviewed and the result of the analysis revealed that the growth rate of the number of orphans, occasioned by the pandemic, has continued to be positive since 1990 till date. AIDS Orphans as a percentage of children within the 0 and 14 has been on the increase, from 0.03%, in 1990, to 2.1%, in 2000, and has extended further to 3.78%, in 2009. Enrolment figures, as well as the rates of school dropouts among the orphans and vulnerable children, clearly indicate that the negative impact of increase in AIDS Orphans on human capital would be substantial if this trend remains unchecked. Therefore, it is imperative for governments at all levels to set better policy measures to support these orphans. Such measures could focus on free and compulsory education, shelter, clothing, medical services and food. Communities, which provide safety nets for the children should be empowered and encouraged with proper financial assistance. In addition, there's a clear need for specific legislation against the growing trend of all forms of exploitations and child-abuse, particularly on girls.

Keywords: AIDS Orphans; Human Capital; HIV/AIDS; Orphans and Vulnerable Children; School Enrolment; Nigeria.

Introduction

The menace of the dreaded HTV/AEDS disease continues to assume different dimensions in the economies of African countries. Aside from the high prevalence of deaths and the great number of persons living with the disease caused by the pandemic, another negative aspect has emerged. The disease leads to an everincreasing the number of orphans in Africa. According to Skyward Journey (2011), there are about 143 million to 210 million orphans globally and an estimated no. of 5,760 children become orphans every day, which translates into 2.102.400 orphans annually. The agency further confirms that in Africa every 15 seconds a child becomes an AIDS orphan and about 14 million AIDS Orphans exist in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) alone. It is noted that the number of AIDS Orphans was supposed to reach 18 million by 2010. Furthermore, it points out that 8 out of every 10 children orphaned by AIDS live in SSA while approximately 250.000 children are adopted annually.

Foster & Williamson (2000) observe that out of the total no. of children orphaned by AIDS globally, 95% of them live in Africa where a continuing increase is expected, reaching 40 million by 2010. These observations have remained true and today's statistics are witnesses to their validity. While in its 2010 report on the global AIDS epidemic UNAIDS reported that the spread of the disease has been halted and also begun to rescind, available statistics from the agency on the status of the pandemic have shown that out of the 33.3 million people living with the disease in 2010, about 22.5 million were from the SSA. This figure comprised 12.1 million women and 2.3 million children (an increase from the 2001 figure of 1.8 million children). Prevalence among adults between 15 and 49 years ranged around 5% while the number of AIDS deaths stood at 1.3 million. Orphans due to the pandemic in the region were estimated at 14.8 million out of the global figure of 16.6 million orphans. In fact, the UNAIDS (2011) report on the global status of the disease and the information provided by the US Global Health Policy (2011) stated that at the end of 2010, an estimated number of 34 million people were still living with the disease worldwide, which translates in an increase of about 17% compared to the 2001 figure. Although the report states that the annual new infection rate of the pandemic fell by 21% between 1997 and 2010, the statistics of persons living with the virus are still on the high side. This means that many new infections continue to occur, influencing directly the number of orphans connected to the disease in the nearest future, with the SSA countries being at the highest risk. …

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