Literature revealed the prognosis of vulnerability of households headed by females in general is poor. One can imagine the situation in households occupied by orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). Orphan-hood may arise from the death of one or both parents. This study compared the situation in male and female headed households among OVC households in three selected communities in Nigeria. The survey was carried out between May and July 2016, by the Association of Reproductive and Family Health (ARFH), the implementer of Local partners for OVC in Nigeria (LOPIN) Region 1 project. A cross-sectional study of 3,706 OVC households was undertaken prior implementation of ARFH)-LOPIN 1} project in Lagos-1,299 households, Rivers-912 and Akwa-Ibom-1,495 households. The National Vulnerable Assessment Questionnaire developed by Bamgboye et al. was used to identify the vulnerable households. The analysis of data collected showed that the proportion of females heading households was 56%. Also, the females heading households were younger, poorer and their OVC less likely to access health educational services as well as less food secured. The high poverty level in Nigeria demands special attention to the health, education, nutrition and socio-economic needs of OVC (particularly those headed by females), for them to have a meaningful life.
Key words: Nigeria, orphans and vulnerable children, household, female headship.
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