Publications Summary

Document Type
Analytical Studies
Publication Topic(s)
Recommended Citation
Mishra, Vinod, and Simona Bignami-Van Assche. 2008. Orphans and Vulnerable Children in High HIV-Prevalence Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. DHS Analytical Studies No. 15. Calverton, Maryland, USA: Macro International
Download Citation
RIS format / Text format / Endnote format
Publication Date
September 2008
Publication ID


Download this publication

Small PDF IconOrphans and Vulnerable Children in High HIV-Prevalence Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (PDF, 1324K)
Order a Hard Copy: Please use electronic copies of DHS publications whenever possible. Hardcopies of publications are intended primarily for those in developing countries where internet connections are limited or unavailable.


This study provides estimates of the size and distribution of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in eight sub-Saharan African countries with relatively high HIV prevalence (Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe), and assesses their situation over several dimensions including schooling and health care. The study finds that substantial proportions of children in these countries are OVC, and that the prevalence of OVC varies widely across countries and across different population sub-groups. Regarding dimensions of OVC’s well-being, the study finds that OVC are disadvantaged in schooling compared to non-OVC. The study also finds that orphans are disadvantaged in the use of mosquito nets and thus are more vulnerable than non-orphans to morbidity and mortality associated with malaria. The study finds that the main vulnerability of orphaned adolescents concerns their schooling: orphaned adolescents are less likely to be in school than non-orphaned adolescents, although they do not seem to be more exploited for their work than non-orphans. Adolescent OVC are also less likely to practice sexual abstinence than non-OVC, but they are not necessarily more prone than non- OVC to other risky sexual behaviors or vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The study finds little evidence that OVC are disadvantaged in health, nutritional status, and health care compared to non-OVC. Nor does the study find a clear disadvantage of OVC in having their basic material needs met.


Browse for Publications by:

Browse for Journal Articles based on DHS data by: