Assessment of Emotional Status of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Zambia


Dr. Sharon Minton Kirkpatrick, Executive Director, HealthEd Connect, 1401 West Truman Road, Independence, MO 64050 USA. E-mail:


Purpose: To describe the emotional status of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in two communities in Zambia.

Methods: The Health Ed Connect Adaptation Questionnaire (HECAQ) was used to interview 306 OVC and 158 primary caregivers in Zambia in 2010.

Findings: Child participants and caregivers reported evidence of emotional distress behaviors in the majority of OVC.

Conclusions: More research to evaluate the efficacy of intervention programs for loss and grief, normal and abnormal reactions to grief, and positive coping skills is needed to assist both children and their caretakers. In the population studied, caregivers and OVC could benefit from additional support for promoting emotional health and managing emotional distress in vulnerable children.

Clinical Relevance: Healthcare professionals play a key role in promoting the emotional health of OVC through identification of deviant behaviors and the development of interventions to alleviate emotional and psychological distress.