While financial constraints are among the most important determinants of deprivation, not all the monetary poor are deprived nor are all deprived monetary poor.
The Directorate of Socio-demographic Statistics of Statistics Botswana joined efforts with the UNICEF Office in Botswana to have a study titled “National Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (N-MODA),” which was conducted in 2014/2015. The results reveal that children experience more poverty than the general population. An update to this first study is documented in a report titled “Child Poverty in Botswana, Updating the National Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis,” which uses the 2015/2016 Botswana Multi-Topic Household Survey (BMTHS) results.
The report shows that there has been a substantial reduction in the extent of deprivation across age groups during 2009/10 and 2015/16 in Botswana. The country’s economic buoyancy has been critical in influencing poverty reduction among children. Deprivation was measured in dimensions of Nutrition, Health, Housing, and Water.
According to the report, 49 percent of children under-18 lives in multidimensional poverty in Botswana, which is defined as being deprived in at least two dimensions simultaneously. About 68 percent of rural children are multidimensionally poor, while 27 percent and 41 percent of children from cities/towns and urban villages, respectively, are deprived in two or more dimensions. However, the proportion of children under-18 years experiencing two or more deprivations declined from 63 to 49 percent.
Children’s access to cleaner drinking water significantly improved experiencing the largest relative reduction registered in a single deprivation. Sanitation, however, remains the most common form of deprivation regardless of age group with at least 7 out of every 10 children being deprived of this dimension. Sanitation deprivation is influenced by what is happening in rural areas, specifically where a large population operates without any toilet facilities. In 2015/16, about 30 percent of children in rural areas resided in households without any toilet facility.
The health dimension registered the least reduction compared to other dimensions. Botswana has made significant investment and achievements towards universal health access for women and children. However, according to a UNICEF report, this has not translated into expected levels of health outcomes for women and children. For every 1,000 children born alive, 56 die before their fifth birthday and 38 die in their first year of life, which is over half of the under-5 deaths. These deaths point to constrained quality of care for mothers and the newly-born around the time of birth.
Children from poor households have higher rates of deprivation and are most likely to drop out school. In 2015/16, at least 1 out of every 4 children was deprived of this dimension, while school attendance for children aged 13-17 years worsened. The most vulnerable children are those who reside in rural areas as well as those residing in households with at least one HIV-positive member. The high association of HIV with deprivation is explained by the higher prevalence of HIV-positive members in rural areas. Whereas nationally, 27 percent of children reside in a household with an HIV positive member, in rural areas, the rate is 50 percent. The higher prevalence of HIV in rural areas may be explained by poverty and the associated socioeconomic difficulties that predispose individuals to risky sexual behaviours.
It is sad to note that gains may be wiped away by the impact of the COVID-19, which has reduced the country’s GDP by over 13 percent for the 2020 economic year.
This article was prepared by Data Collection & Analysis (DCA), a business research firm. Feedback or inquiries can be relayed to 76 740 658.