Health Status and Life Situation of Street Children in Zahedan, Southeast of Iran
The children working in the streets are at risk of violence, sexual and substance abuse and infectious diseases. Few studies have been done in this field in Iran and around the world..
This study aimed to assess the health status and life situation of street children to encourage and inform interventions and the future research agenda regarding these children in Iran..Patients and
This cross-sectional study was conducted in southeast of Iran from January to April 2015. Based on postal map, the city was divided into five districts and 216 male street children were selected using snowball sampling. An unstructured questionnaire was provided by integrating eight previously used questionnaires in different studies with approved validity and reliability and filled with in-depth interview. Data were analyzed in Stata 12 software using independent t-test and chi-square test..
The mean age of the subjects was 12.5 ± 3.2 years and 29.2% and 18.9% of them subsisted by vending and rubbish gathering, respectively. There was significant relation between fathers’ job and type of children’s activities (P = 0.024). The prevalence of smoking and history of alcohol consumption was 42.6% and 2%, respectively. The lowest mean age of initial use and also the most commonly used substance was for cigarette smoking. The mean age of children with illiterate parents that were using substances or had lost both their parents was lower than the mean age of the rest (P < 0.05). Only 38.6% of the children ate meals with their families and the rest ate their meals as snack..
The health status and life situation of street children in this region do not seem appropriate and earning money is the most important motivation to being a street child. Unlike violence, the tendency to substance abuse, especially cigarette smoking, was pretty high. On the other hand, the lower age of illicit drug abuse among these children in this study indicates a higher vulnerability of this group. However, the awareness and educational level of the parents is an important determinant in this regard..
Journal of Health Scope, Volume:4 Issue: 4, Nov 2015
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