Impact of AIDS on Older People in Africa
Zimbabwe Case Study
Reference Number: WHO/NMH/NPH/ALC/02.12
The rising AIDS death toll and the consequent increasing numbers of AIDS orphans world-wide are having far-reaching health, economic and psycho-social impacts on society, particularly in Africa – where 71% of the 40 million people living with HIV/AIDS in 2001 were residing.
Similarly, of the total number of children under the age of 15 years (14 million) who had lost their mothers or both parents to AIDS by 2001, around 90% were to be found in sub-Saharan Africa. Most of those living with HIV/AIDS are people in their economically active stages of life (15-49).
A new WHO report "Impact of AIDS on Older People in Africa" launched on 11th December 2002, has investigated the burden of AIDS on Older People in Zimbabwe and concludes that, the increase in home based and orphan care due to AIDS places enormous burden older relatives, mostly older women, who have to provide this care within a context of decreased economic means, stigma, witchcraft accusations and other challenges they faced in their old age. It calls for practical and sustainable approaches that will improve the capacity of older people to enable them continue providing this important role.