|The Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) disease is neither solely a health problem nor can it be dealt with as such. In Uganda it has affected both rural and urban dwellers, adults and children across the country with varying magnitude. The AIDS prevalence in resource-constrained settings results in physical and psychological suffering of the infected and affected. Consequently, AIDS morbidity and mortality negatively impacts on development at the individual, household, sector and national levels. Individuals and households fail to access care for the sick while income inflows from affected adults are cut off.
The Ministry of Health estimates that over the past twenty years, one million people in Uganda have died from AIDS and another one million are currently living with the disease. The consequences of the spread of AIDS have been extensive, affecting the social, economic and political spectrums of society. Health services have been stretched and labour and agricultural productivity reduced.
One of the most visible consequences of AIDS is the presence of orphans, who are currently estimated by the Ministry of Health to be 1.7 million, 14% of the total children population in the country. Although Uganda was one of the first African countries to consistently confront the realities of the AIDS pandemic, to-date, the country continues to grapple with the devastating effects more than two decades after the first incidence was recorded.
But although there has been a decline in the AIDS prevalence rates since mid 1990s, there are threats of a resurgence of the pandemic and efforts are on to intensify the national response against the disease with a call for revived individual and collective involvement.
This study highlights the social and economic impact the AIDS pandemic has had on the country’s children and their future prospects. In particular, it examines the coping mechanisms the children orphaned by the disease in Rubaga Division, Kampala District have adopted and interventionist strategies by families, local communities, Government and Non-Government Organizations.
The study also recommends key strategic interventions which, if implemented,
could go a long way in assisting the affected children and communities cope better
with the effects of the disease.
Finally, areas for further research conclude this study.