The impact of HIV and AIDS on the elderly people in Makete district, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study examined. The impact of HIV and AIDS as the Elderly people in Makete District, Tanzanian, in order to assess how the pandemic affected the elderly people socially, culturally, emotionally and economically. The study was based on the major assumption that the HIV and AIDS pandemic has added more burden to the elderly people at the time when they needed to be cared for and as such it has changed their lifestyle. Thus HIV and AIDS pandemic killed the young and productive adults aged between 15and 49 years, and left the elderly people and children under 15 years behind. The choice of the study areas was based on a number of factors such as: the high rate of HIV and AIDS infection, the big number of orphaned children a noticeable decline in population from one census to another as reported in the 2002 population and housing census and very high level of interventions by the government and non-governmental organization in HIV and AIDS programmes. The study covered 662 household headed by 959 elderly people in the division of Matamba, Ikuwo, Magoma, Bulongwa, Lupalilo and Ukwama. This study was exploratory and therefore, it used case studies and interviews to collect the data. It was observed that the elderly people were highly involved in caring for the sick people who were their children or grandchildren and the orphans whose number was increasing daily. The toll of caring is exacerbated by the sheer economic cost of providing the orphans with all three basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing, medical care and school facilities. The survey results confirmed that a significant number of the elderly people were affected by the debilitating effect of HIV and AIDS pandemic. About 64 percent had lost an adult child from AIDS, while 22 percent were caring for adult children who were sick. HIV and AIDS remain new phenomena to most elderly people because of the low level of knowledge and awareness about the pandemic. Low level of knowledge is contributed by low level of education, less involvement in HIV and AIDS information are not targeting the elderly people. Ultimately, the elderly people remained the key resource in enabling their households to function after a member of their households had contracted HIV and AIDS. They play the role of the parents by nurturing their grandchildren who have been affected by this illness. Despite of all these valuable roles and responsibilities they are not acknowledged and recognized. Since they are so instrument in these roles, serous measures are needed to make them the target of HIV and AIDS interventions in their communities. Hence this study calls for inclusion of the elderly people in all HIV and AIDS invention programmes and more focus should be to those aged 60 years and above because this is the most affected group.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class Mark (THS EAF RA644.A25T34C4756)
AIDS (Disease), Elderly people
Chonjo, J. P (2009) The impact of HIV and AIDS on the elderly people in Makete district, Tanzania , Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam