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Free Content ARVs and cash too: caring and supporting people living with HIV/AIDS with the Malawi Social Cash Transfer

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Objectives  The Malawian Social Cash Transfer Scheme (SCT) is a social protection programme for ultra poor and labour‐constrained households, including people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). We aimed to gain insight into respondents’ circumstances prior to becoming transfer beneficiaries and to examine how PLWHA used transfers to support themselves and their families.

Methods  We conducted 24 semi‐structured qualitative interviews with PLWHA who were also SCT beneficiaries and living in villages where the scheme was operational in 2008.

Results  Respondents were destitute and lacked food and basic necessities prior to the transfer. As cash recipients, the majority of respondents reported positive impacts on health, food security and economic well‐being as well as an improved ability to care for their families.

Conclusion  Important unanswered programmatic questions persist, such as ‘What is the appropriate transfer level?’ And ‘Should recipients graduate from the scheme?’ Moreover, the scheme’s long‐term sustainability is still unclear. Nevertheless, this analysis presents evidence describing how PLWHA used cash transfers to improve their situation and mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on families.

Language: English

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Center for Global Health and Development, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA 2:  Centre for Social Research, University of Malawi, Zomba, Malawi and University of York, York, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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