Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study highlights shared burden of young carers in the UK and Tanzania

24.09.2007
It’s not just distance that separates the children of Tanzania and the UK. Their lifestyles, aspirations and access to employment, education and healthcare are worlds apart.

But if you are a young person looking after a parent or relative with HIV or AIDS, you might find that the differences are far less pronounced. A new study, led by Professor Saul Becker, Director of Research, and Dr Ruth Evans, both of the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, has found startling similarities between children who care for relatives in the UK and Tanzania. The research suggests that the most vulnerable often slip through the gaps of services even when — as in the UK — there are established support and healthcare systems available to them.

Despite very different socio-economic, cultural and policy contexts, children caring for parents or relatives with HIV or AIDS in both Tanzania and the UK share many caring responsibilities, needs and aspirations. Children in both countries routinely perform a range of caring tasks, including:

•Household chores — cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping
•Healthcare — reminding the parent or relative to take medication, caring for them in and outside hospital, assisting with mobility, preparing special food
•Personal care — washing and bathing, assisting parents to eat, dress and use the toilet
•Childcare — looking after siblings
•Emotional and practical support — talking to and comforting the parent or relative, helping them to remember appointments and pay bills

Professor Becker said: “The findings are challenging for policy makers and service providers in the sense that there are huge similarities in the experiences of young carers in the UK and developing countries. In the UK we have an established and respected national healthcare system, but the stigma attached to HIV and AIDS and the difficulty in finding and then accessing appropriate services means that young carers in the UK and Tanzania have far more in common than we previously might have suspected.”

The study found that in addition to these shared responsibilities, young carers living in poverty in Tanzania had the added responsibility of income generation. This ranged from begging and casual farm work to domestic work or working in a shop. They also had extra household chores, such as fetching water, tending livestock and cultivating crops.

The study, Hidden young carers: the experience, needs and resilience of children caring for parents/relatives with HIV/AIDS in Tanzania and the UK, explored unpaid care work by young people in the two countries. A total of 93 people — including children under 18 and young adults aged 18 to 24 that were carers, their parents and relatives with HIV or AIDS and service providers — were interviewed. They came from rural and urban locations across four regions in Tanzania and in five English towns and cities. The study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

All participants were interviewed in depth, and many of the young carers also took part in participatory child-friendly research approaches — including life story books, with sentence completion exercises, daily diaries and spaces for drawing, and photography. These books and images were then used to supplement the interviews and gain a unique insight into the young carer’s everyday life, experiences, feelings and aspirations for the future.

“Interviews are a trusted and effective method of getting very sensitive information about the situation of young carers and their families from all those involved,” Dr Evans added. “But they can often be difficult, particularly for children who are already in a stressful situation. By using the photographs and life story books we can look at what’s important for these young people in their own terms, and at the way they deal with adversity in their everyday life, as well as how they cope with it.

“Participants were given cameras to take pictures of items, people or anything that was important to them, and many of these showed family and friends — illustrating the support networks that they call upon to help them deal with their role as a carer.”

The study also revealed the positive aspects of what would generally be perceived as a negative situation for a young person to grow up in. From increased maturity, confidence and coping skills, to strong bonds with the parent or relative being cared for, other family, community and religious groups.

“Previous studies have concentrated on the negative aspects of young carers’ lives,” said Professor Becker. “This one highlights the protective factors. One of the strongest here is the relationship that the young carer has with the parent or relative. Parents are giving guidance, support, strong moral leadership and discipline — all positive factors which help to develop children’s resilience.”

It is hoped that these findings will inform future research and policy developments aimed at improving the lives of young carers and their parents and relatives internationally. The interview transcripts from the study and life story books have now been deposited in the UK Data Archive, so that other researchers can draw on the original data for their own analysis.

The study outlines the need for greater recognition of children’s caring roles within families, the need for greater awareness and knowledge of HIV and AIDS across societies and the promotion of resilience in families where young people are carers. These protective factors operate on a number of different levels, including that of the individual child, the household, community, socio-cultural and policy levels. Approaches that promote resilience include respite breaks, development of life skills in the young carers, practical and emotional support for parents with HIV or AIDS, social activities with other young people in similar situations, as well as developing formal and informal support networks within families, schools and the wider community.

An executive summary, Hidden young carers: the experience, needs and resilience of children caring for parents/relatives with HIV and AIDS in Tanzania and the UK is available from Professor Becker. A book, Children caring for parents with HIV and Aids: global issues and policy responses, will be published in late 2008.

Emma Thorne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

nachricht Do microplastics harbour additional risks by colonization with harmful bacteria?
05.04.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Getting electrons to move in a semiconductor

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Reconstructing what makes us tick

25.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Cheap 3-D printer can produce self-folding materials

25.04.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>