Assessment of health and social challenges of street children in enugu urban, southeast

International Journal of Development Research

Article ID: 
9 pages
Research Article

Assessment of health and social challenges of street children in enugu urban, southeast

Ijeoma O. Ehiemere, Justina N. Noble, Helen .U. okoye and Ijeoma .O. Maduakolam


Background: Street Children Phenomenon is global, escalating and becoming public health concern, especially in developing countries including Nigeria. In Enugu urban, it is common to see children loitering about, hawking or doing some other menial tasks with or without consent of parents or guardians. Obviously these tasks are fraught with diverse risks and challenges. Therefore, there is need to study these children with view of harnessing and planning for them today through appropriate intervention for a better tomorrow. Objective: The aim of the study is to assess health and social challenges of street children in Enugu urban, Enugu state, southeast, Nigeria, to provide baseline information for designing appropriate intervention programmes. Methods& materials: A cross sectional survey design was used for the study. Due to the transitory nature of the street children, convenience sampling technique was used to select 384 study participants. A validated structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used for data collection. Data were analyzed with the aid of SPSS version 20. P- Value< 0.05 was considered significant association. Results: Out of 384 participants, 220 (58.44%) were males with a mean age of 12.30 years. Majority of them 350 (87.8%) were Christians. About half of the study participants 205 (50.4%) live with both parents while only (12.2%) live with friends or guardians. Most of the mothers 271 (71.9%) were petty traders. The main reason for being in the street was to augment family income 175 (46.4%). Major health challenges experienced by them were cough 286 (75.9%), headaches 285 (75.6%), body pains 271 (71.9%) and body weakness 248 (65.8%). Major social challenges experienced were poor feeding 262 (69.5%), verbal abuse 235 (62.3%), harsh weather 235 (62.3%) and dropping out of school (46.9%).Tiredness, wounds and bruises were significantly associated with gender (males). Males were mostly affected. Conclusion: Economic hardship of parents/guardians was the major cause of street children phenomenon in Enugu urban, Enugu state. Empowering parents/ guardians with soft loan to enable them improve their agriculture activities or trading will be of help. Providing basic skill acquisition centers for mothers to improve their economic power will contribute to the reduction of the menace of the increasing number of street children in Enugu urban.

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