142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Impact of an asset-building program on self-perceived health of low-income individuals in rural Uganda

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 9:30 AM - 9:50 AM

Gina Chowa, PhD, MSW , School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Rainier Masa, MSW , School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Shiyou Wu, MSW , School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Background: Asset development is a key strategy to promote economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa. Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that participation in asset-building programs contribute to a range of positive wellbeing outcomes, including financial, educational and psychological. However, little is known about the impact of asset development programs on health outcomes. We examined the impact of AssetsAfrica project on self-perceived health status of low-income individuals in Masindi, Uganda. AssetsAfrica was a demonstration and research initiative designed to test asset-building innovations through a matched savings program with financial and livelihood training.    

Methods: We used data (N = 273) from AssetsAfrica. Fifty-four percent (n = 148) of the sample was assigned to the intervention group. Self-perceived health was measured by a single item that asked individuals to describe their health status. We used propensity score analysis to examine the impact of AssetsAfrica on self-perceived health. Data were collected pre- and post-intervention.    

Results: A majority of participants were men (55%) and most (86%) have some formal education. Most individuals (79%) rated their health as good or better. Treatment participants have higher odds of positive self-rated health status (AOR = 2.02, 95% CI 0.97–4.22, P < 0.10) than comparison participants.     

Discussion: The positive impact of AssetsAfrica on self-perceived health status suggests that an economic strengthening program may have potential utility as a health-related intervention. In particular, asset development programs may positively influence health perception. Better self-perceived health, in turn, is associated with desirable health outcomes including higher life expectancy.

Learning Areas:

Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the impact of an asset development program on health-related outcomes Discuss potential utility of an asset building program as a structural, health-related intervention

Keyword(s): International Health, Poverty

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of the project. I have more than 10 years of experience implementing and evaluating economic security and health-related programs for low-income individuals and families in sub-Saharan Africa.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.