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Cash Transfer Programmes For Reducing Poverty And Vulnerabilities: Effects On Children’s Health In Sub-Saharan Africa And Latin America

Oladayo Nathaniel Awojobi
Published: 1 January 2022

Abstract: This paper summarizes the arguments and counterarguments within the scientific discussion on cash transfers and child health. The main purpose of the research is to assess the effects of cash transfers on children’s health and development outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Systematization of the literary sources indicates that studies have justified cash transfer as social-income support that addresses a vital social determinant of health (income) for children in low-and-middle-income countries. The methodological basis of this study is a systematic review that searched a wide range of electronic databases such as PubMed, ResearchGate and ScienceDirect. Studies included in this review included randomized controlled trials (RCTs), cluster-RCTs, quasi-experimental and mixed methods studies of cash transfer interventions in children 0-18 years. Inclusion criteria were met by eight studies, four from Africa and four from Latin America. The systematic review presents the results of data synthesis of the included studies that mainly reported the effects of cash transfer programmes on child anthropometry outcomes, cognitive development, morbidity, and healthcare utilization. The review found cash transfer programmes to improve these variables among children in households receiving cash transfers. This systematic review has added to the debate on cash transfers and children’s health outcomes. In general, the systematic review indicates that cash transfer programmes intended for children are effective at improving anthropometric, health, and cognitive outcomes, as well as access to healthcare. However, there is a need for more research to clarify the multiple pathways by which cash transfers can improve children’s health and nutritional outcomes. It is also necessary to clarify what factors explain the variety of effects of cash transfer programs on child health and nutritional status. Finally, cash transfer interventions are not permanent mechanisms for promoting access to healthcare. Policymakers in developing countries should borrow ideas on how to finance healthcare services for improving the socio-economic wellbeing of citizens.
Keywords: Africa / children are effective / cash transfer programmes / effects of cash transfer

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