209514 At the cross-roads of HIV and AIDS: Contexts of caregiving to children with HIV/AIDS in Accra, Ghana

Monday, November 9, 2009

G. Adobea Owusu, PhD, MPH , Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana
Background: Given the dearth of studies on informal caregiving to children living with HIV/AIDS in Africa, this study examined informal caregiving to children with medically confirmed HIV and AIDS in Accra, Ghana in 2007. This paper focuses on the contexts of the caregiving situations. Caregiving of children living with HIV/AIDS is very stressful. HIV/AIDS in a child usually translates into one or both parents being afflicted with the disease. Objectives pursued in this paper include developing a profile of the informal caregivers, teasing out the policy, and programmatic implications of giving primary care to children with HIV/AIDS.

Methods: Data from 28 adult primary caregivers of 29 children aged 0-14 years old with HIV/AIDS were collected qualitatively. The interviews were processed using Nudist software version 6.0. Symbolic interaction theory is used to explain the contexts and coping strategies of the primary caretakers of the children with HIV/AIDS in a developing world context with limited formal health care but greater social networks.

Results: Majority of the children were under 10 years of age and orphans. Caregivers were mostly women. Men gave the care only if the mothers of the children were dead or seriously sick. The sero-status of the index child was mostly undisclosed even to household members. All the caretakers had financial problems emanating from their caregiving roles.

Conclusion: Symbolic meanings had been imputed into the caregiving situations, which provided the needed impetus for continuing the caregiving. The caregiving had a negative impact on the well-being of caregivers and their households.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the profile of primary caregivers of children with medically confirmed HIV/AIDS 2. Describe the profile of the children with medically confirmed HIV/AIDS 3. Assess the contexts of caregiving for some children afflicted with HIV/AIDS in Ghana to advance knowledge and highlight policy and programmatic needs. 4. Analyze the meanings and coping strategies adopted by the caregivers, using symbolic interaction theory 5. List recommendations for follow-up studies to the research community.

Keywords: Caregivers, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This is my primary research and I wrote the abstract personally
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: HIV and Africa
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