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Original Research

Morbidity profile of children residing in orphanages - A cross-sectional study in Chitradurga, Karnataka

Mayuri Reddy, Ramya V.


Background: Orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) are a group of underprivileged population in society. They do not receive proper physical and emotional care because they are unaccompanied, displaced, and lacking family support. An orphanage is an institution devoted to the care and education of orphans, abused, abandoned, and neglected children, i.e., children whose parents are deceased or unable to care for them. Children who live in orphanage unfortunately suffer from anemia, malnutrition, and environmental deprivation of varying degrees. Therefore, there is a need to address the special needs of this vulnerable group.

Objectives: This study was conducted with the objective to assess the morbidities among OVC and its association with the duration of stay in the orphanage.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional institution-based study was conducted among 297 orphanage children aged between 6 and 16 years for 1 year.

Results: The mean age of study participants was 12.15 ± 2.5 years. The leading morbidities observed were anemia (37.4%), skin problems (35.5%), dental problems (28.3%), malnutrition (23.2%), scalp problems (12.9%), ear problems (11.6%), upper respiratory problems (5.7%), and eye problems (3.9%). There was very high significant association between the duration of stay and the presence of medical illness in the orphanage children (P = 0.000).

Conclusions: Anemia, skin infections, dental problems, and malnutrition are the common health problems in them. Repeated infection and protein energy malnutrition significantly contributed to high prevalence of anemia. It was also observed that longer the duration of stay in orphanage, the children were more prone to infections. Despite these children are very vulnerable, their health needs are poorly understood and ill served.

Key words: Orphans and Vulnerable Children; Orphanage; Morbidities

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