Online Program

Children's Health and the Kenyan Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children: Evidence from an Unconditional Cash Transfer Scheme

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 1:22 p.m. - 1:35 p.m.

Carolyn Huang, PhD, Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Kavita Singh, PhD, Maternal and Child Health Department, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Sudhanshu Handa, PhD, Department of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Cash transfers are considered a new paradigm for international development.  As they expand in the developing world, more evidence is needed to understand how they influence wellbeing.  This study examines whether Kenya’s largest social protection impacts children’s health.  Kenya’s Cash Transfer for Orphans and Vulnerable Children offers financial support by giving money to families supporting orphans affected by HIV/AIDS.  It targets poor, school age children and informs households that its purpose is to prevent underinvestment in children’s human capital development.  We use longitudinal, cluster-randomized data from 1,795 households from 28 locations that participated in the study.  The analytical samples are comprised of all eligible children ages 0-17 (n=962) and under-5s (n=492).   Caretakers were asked whether the child had been ill with fever or hot body in the last month and in the event of illness, whether advice or treatment from a health facility, pharmacy, shop, or other person was sought.  We run a difference-in-differences logistic model and find that the program was associated with reductions in children's illness.  Control children of all ages (0-17) were 1.5 times more likely to contract malaria or pneumonia (p<0.05).  Positive but insignificant results were detected for under-5 illness incidence.  No significant results were detected for children of either age ranges.  These findings suggest that households may regard health and education investment separately and that poverty program managers should do more to promote health investment.  Greater action is also needed to protect the household’s most vulnerable members, as improvements at the household level are not being received equally.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the children’s health improvements associated with receiving benefits from an international welfare program. Discuss the tradeoffs that arise within welfare programming.

Keyword(s): International Health, Poverty

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate with 8 years of experience researching anti-poverty and social programming in sub-Saharan Africa. I was a research assistant on the Kenya CT-OVC evaluation team for 4 years. In the past, I presented other program findings at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management and the Population Association of America annual meetings. My scientific interests also include evaluating public maternal and child health programs and welfare measurement.
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.