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The impact of orphanhood and HIV/AIDS on school enrolment - Evidence from Zambia

By Fanny Olsson and Maria Strandberg


HIV/AIDS has made a great number of children orphans in sub-Saharan Africa where Zambia is one of the worst hit countries. The impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic has become an issue of not only health, but of cross-sectional importance affecting other major corner stones in society such as education. The destruction of human capital and its impact on some of the most vulnerable children, i.e. orphans has been a subject of discussion in research literature, but the results regarding why orphans’ education might differ from non-orphans vary. The aim of this study is to examine whether orphan status affects school enrolment among children in Zambia and to investigate whether the effects of orphanhood are stronger in regions with high HIV prevalence. Other variables found to impact children’s education in previous studies are also examined. To study this relationship a probit model is conducted based on micro data from the Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS). The results show that maternal orphanhood has a significant negative impact on school enrolment. The study further finds evidence of there being a stronger negative effect of maternal orphanhood in regions with high HIV prevalence. The number of household members, age, the education level of the head of household, wealth and the relationship to the head of household are also found to impact school enrolment among children

Topics: education, HIV/AIDS, orphans, Zambia
Year: 2013
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