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Revista de Salud Pública

Print version ISSN 0124-0064

Abstract

MUNOZ-ECHEVERRI, Iván F; NORENA-HERRERA, Camilo; LONDONO, Beatriz E  and  ROJAS-ARBELAEZ, Carlos A. Morbidity and risk behavior regarding street-children in Medellin, Colombia, 2008. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2011, vol.13, n.2, pp.207-218. ISSN 0124-0064.

Objectives Describing the characteristics, morbidity and risk behaviour of street children from Medellin. Methodology This was a descriptive, retrospective study. The medical charts of children aged less than 17 who sought medical attention in five protection institutions in Medellin during 2008 were reviewed. The analysis included descriptive statistics and bivariate analysis. Age was categorised into two groups: boys/girls (0- 12 years) and adolescents (13-17 years). Results The following characteristicswere found after reviewing 483 medical charts: being male (73.1 %), adolescent (73.1 %) and living in the streets (44.7 %). The most common diagnoses were for infectious and parasite illnesses (21.8 %), factors that affected health status and contact with health services (13.7 %), respiratory diseases (11.8 %). A total of 81.0 % of all children were engaged in psychoactive substance abuse,smoking marijuana being the most common (80.0 %);84.0 % reported engaging in sexual activity. Conclusion Infectious diseases, sexual activity and usingpsychoactive substances placed this population in a high vulnerability category. This situation demands that local health-policy makers guarantee thispopulation's constitutional right to health, through health-promotion programmes and sexual and reproductive health strategies to prevent disease and psychoactive substance abuse.

Keywords : Homeless youth; morbidity; risk factor; substance-related disorder; sexual behaviour; health status; Colombia.

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