Queens as Mothers: the role of the traditional safety net of care and support for HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in Ghana
- 328 Downloads
The paper examines the significance of the traditional safety net to provide security and help to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). (Abbreviation OVC, as conceptualised by UNICEF (2001)). It questions the scenario of societal breakdown due to HIV/AIDS by asking how the traditional safety net operates, nature of solutions to the OVC problem it provides and its sustainability. No geographical region in Ghana has been so affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic than the Manya Krobo District in Ghana. While analysing the role of the work of the Manya Krobo Queen Mothers’ Association (QMA) and five private caregivers, the perceptions of three OVC are presented: on how it is to be an OVC, what their dreams and hopes are for the future, and their awareness of HIV/AIDS. It is observed that even though the QMA serves as a good role model for how to address the OVC problem, it has its limitations. The traditional extended family system is under pressure, but not about to break down. As the effectiveness of its support will depend on the contribution of the wider Ghanaian society, localised solutions have to be scaled up to make an impact. Thus, the breakdown scenario needs to be nuanced and contextualised. The vulnerability of the local place under study relates to unemployment and migration, economic poverty and social–cultural marginalisation. These factors are intertwined with the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
KeywordsGhana HIV/AIDS Orphans and vulnerable children Queen Mothers
The authors would like to acknowledge all the individuals and organisations that have contributed with information, particularly our research assistant Kojo Gyabaah, and also Manye Esther Narketie (Vice President of the Manye Krobo Queens Mothers Association). Funding for the preparation of this paper has come from the Norwegian Council of Universities Committee for Development Research and Educations (NUFU) Research Project on the New Faces of Poverty in Ghana. We also appreciate the excellent comments and inputs provided by the anonymous reviewers of Geojournal and Catriona Turner.
- Adresseavisen, Trondheim, Norway (2005). Interview with Kofi Annan, Wednesday 26 October 2005.Google Scholar
- Agyei-Mensh, S. (2001). Twelve years of HIV/AIDS in Ghana: Puzzles of interpretation. Canadian Journal of African Studies 35(3), 441–472.Google Scholar
- Akintola, O. (2004). The gendered burden of home-based caregiving. Policy Brief, HEARD, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.Google Scholar
- Atekyerewa, P. R., & Kirumira, E. K. (2004). The impact of AIDS on families and family coping strategies in Uganda. Research Review Supplement, 15, 33–44.Google Scholar
- Atobrah, D. (2004). Children of dead mothers and unknown fathers. Research Review Supplement, 16, 59–76.Google Scholar
- Blaikie, P., & Barnett, T. (1992). AIDS in Africa: Its present and future impact. Belhaven Press, London.Google Scholar
- Bray, R. (2003). Predicting the social consequences of orphanhood in South Africa. African Journal of AIDS Research, 2(1), 39–55.Google Scholar
- Fayorsey, C. K., & Amolo, R. K. (2005). Empowering Queen Mothers and Magajiaas in the fight against HIV/AIDS. http://www.cepa.org/publications/pdf/ghana_queenmothers.pdf (accessed 30/11/05).
- Ghana Statistical Service, Ngouchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research & ORC MACRO DHS. (2004). Ghana Demographic and Health Survey 2003. Calverton, Maryland.Google Scholar
- Huairo Commission. (2005). AIDS in Africa: Solutions. Grassroots Women & Partners, New York.Google Scholar
- Hunter, S., & Williamson, J. (2001). Children on the brink: Executive summary, updated estimates and recommendations for interventions. United States Agency for International Development Online. http://www.usaid.gov/pubs/hiv_aids/childrenreport.pdf.
- Johnson, L., & Drrington, R. (2001). The impact of AIDS on Orphanhood in South Africa: A quantitative analysis. Care Monograph No. 4. Cape Town.Google Scholar
- Kerkhoven, R., & Hammeijer, J. W. (1998). Orphan care as a long-term HIV prevention strategy. South Africa AIDS News, 6(1), 14.Google Scholar
- Lane, T. (2004). AIDS orphans in Africa. International Family Plan Perspectives, 30(1), 5.Google Scholar
- New World Outlook Special Report. (2005). The Uzumba Orphan Trust: A new approach to AIDS in Africa, http://www.gbgm-umc.org/nwo/01ma/uzumba.html
- Ntozi, J. P., & Mukiza-Gapere, J. (1995). Care for AIDS orphans in Uganda: Findings from focus groups discussions. Health Transit Review, 5(Suppl), 245–252.Google Scholar
- Quaicoe, E. (2005). Daily Graphic.Ghana.Google Scholar
- Republic of Ghana. (2005). Ghana AIDS Commission National Report on the Follow-up to the United Nations Assembly Special Session Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS. Reporting Period: 2004–2005, 35 pp. http://www.data.unaids.org/pub/Report/2006/2006_country_progress_report_ghana_en.pdf (accessed 30/06/06).
- ROG (Republic of Ghana)/GHS (Ghana Health Service). (2003). HIV Sentinel Survey 2003 Report March 2003. National AIDS/STI Control Programme. Ghana Health Service, Accra.Google Scholar
- ROG (Republic of Ghana)/WHO (World Health Organisation)/GHS(Ghana Health Service) /NACP(National Aids Control Programme). (2007). HIV Sentinel Survey 2006 Report. Accra, Ghana.Google Scholar
- Sauve, N., Dzokoto, B., Opare, E. B., Kaitoo, E. E., Khonde, N., Mondor, M., Bekoe, V., & Pepin, J., (2002). The price of development: HIV infection in a semi-urban community of Ghana. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 29(4), 402–408.Google Scholar
- SOS Children’s Villages. (2005). AIDS orphans in Africa: SOS framework for action (2003). http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk.
- UNICEF. (2001). Care and support for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS. http://www.unicef.org/aids/children.htm.
- UNAIDS, UNICEF, USAID. (2004). Children on the Brink 2004: A joint report of new orphan estimates and a framework for action. http://www.unicef.org/publications/index_22212.html.
- Webb, D. (1994). Community responses to AIDS orphans: Whose responsibility? AIDS Analysis Africa 5, 4.Google Scholar
- World Bank. (2001). AIDS-induced orphanhood as a systemic shock: Magnitude, impact and program intervention in Africa. http://www.1.worldbank.org/sp/safetynets/BBL_AIDS_12-01.asp.
- World Bank. (2006). http://www.info.worldbank.org/etools/docs/library/164047/sector/multicountry4.htm (accessed 6/30/2006).