Background: In Nigeria, children who need special protection on the account of being in vulnerable situations are observably increasing due to growing levels of poverty and the poor socio-economic situation of the country and it is necessary to ameliorate the problem by strengthening the capacity of families. This article therefore presents the achievements of care and support programme among orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Bayelsa State, Nigeria as well as the implications for future programming.
Methods: The project was an intervention study carried out among OVC in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Four civil society organizations were engaged by Bayelsa State Agency for the Control of AIDS (BYSACA) under HIV and AIDS Fund (HAF) II project to provide care and support services for OVC. The target population consisted of paternal orphan or maternal orphan, double orphan and vulnerable children whose parents are infected with HIV but alive in six local government areas. A total of 3000 was an estimated sample size for this intervention and data were collected using various data reporting tools and analyzed using Microsoft Excel.
Results: The total number of OVC reached during the project period was 5410 given a target reached of 180.3%. Among these, 87.7% of the children were reached with at least one service, 74.9% were reached with psychosocial services, nutrition (37.4%), educational services (33.3%), healthcare services (9.5%) and protection services (4.4%). Thirty-five children withdrawn from the programme and two children reported died during this project.
Conclusion: Efforts to care, support and protect vulnerable children should not only focus on their immediate survival needs such as food, education, water, shelter and clothing, but also on long-term developmental needs that reduce children's vulnerability such as life skills, child protection, vocational training, food security, and household economic strengthening.