Extended families and perceived caregiver support to AIDS orphans in Rakai district of Uganda

Authors: Karimli L, Ssewamala FM, Ismayilova L

Date: 2012


To understand the role of extended family in responding to problems of AID-orphaned children and adolescents in Uganda, the study examines who are the primary caregivers of AIDS-orphaned children and adolescents, what are the types of caregiving provided to orphans and whether the quality of caregiving varies by the primary caregiver’s gender and type.


The study uses bivariate analyses and mixed effects models utilizing baseline data from a cluster randomized experimental design including 283 orphaned adolescents in Uganda.


The analysis revealed a generally dominating role of female caregivers for both single and double orphans. In the absence of biological parents – as in the case of double orphans – grandparents’ role as caregivers prevail. On average, the study participants indicated receiving the high level of perceived caregiver support: the average score of 3.56 out of 4 (95% CI=3.5, 3.65). Results of mixed effect models (adjusting for school effects) revealed significant differences in perceived caregiver support by caregiver’s gender. Compared to their male counterparts, female participants with whom the child/adolescent lives (B=0.22, 95% CI=0.11, 0.34) and women who are currently taking care of a child/adolescent (B=0.15, 95% CI=0.05, 0.26) provide greater caregiver support as perceived and reported by a child/adolescent. Similarly, female financiers – compared to male source of financial support – provide greater caregiver support as perceived and reported by a child/adolescent (B=0.16, 95% CI=0.04, 0.3).


Our findings demonstrate that extended families are still holding up as an important source of care and support for AIDS orphaned children and adolescents in Uganda. The findings support the argument about importance of matrilineal and grandparental care for AIDS orphans.

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