The microeconomic impact of interventions against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

 
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* While the majority of interventions against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria had positive short-term effects, these were frequently not translated into long-term sustainable results.

* Cash transfers may have the potential of reducing HI V transmissions but the effect is so far insignificant.

* Increased access to HIV/AIDS treatment and nutrition results in significant improvements in employment and productivity.

* While microcredit interventions have a positive effect on household income of patients, access to these loans among individuals who are very poor or who have bad credit histories, and who are usually the most affected by these diseases, continues to be limited. Out-of-pocket spending on transportation, cost of diagnosis, and care continue to be catastrophic among families affected by these diseases even when access to treatment itself is facilitated.

HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria remain the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, with 99 per cent of people who die from these diseases living in developing countries. However, besides the health burden, these diseases also have negative macroeconomic effects due to decreased economic growth, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. At the micro level these effects are far more relevant for vulnerable households, which are evident as losses in wages and income; absenteeism from education and work; cost of treatment; and other expenses involved with care and transportation to health centres. What interventions have been most successful in mitigating the microeconomic effects of these diseases?

Interventions and their impact on individuals

Attempts by donors and governments to mitigate and prevent the negative effects of these diseases can be broadly divided into three separate types of interventions:

  1. Providing financial support

    Increasing financial resources allow patients to access more treatment and care, as well as support their families from the sometimes catastrophic costs of the disease. These interventions take the form of cash transfer programmes and microfinance loans to help people remain in work/education, and comply with treatment or access preventive measures.

    While microcredit interventions often have a positive effect on household income of patients, access to these loans among individuals who are very poor or who have bad credit histories--who are often the most affected by these diseases--continues to be limited. For example, in one study in Peru of...

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