Can Access to Microfinance Reduce HIV Prevalence among Women?: Evidence from the Literature

Can Access to Microfinance Reduce HIV Prevalence among Women?: Evidence from the Literature

James Atta Peprah (University of Cape Coast, Ghana) and Charles Buonbah (University of Cape Coast, Ghana)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4635-3.ch009
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Microfinance has been heralded by many as the magic bullet, able to empower marginalized populations by investing into their agency. It has been growing at an average rate of about 40%, and providers have shown interest in reducing HIV prevalence and promoting health educational attainment among beneficiaries’ children especially among women who are vulnerable in most societies. Advocates of microfinance interventions have often stated it aims at improving lives by enabling clients to launch and nurture their own small businesses and enterprises so that they can become independent and improve their livelihoods. However, complementary to microfinance strategy is to assist clients in generating income and growing assets from the impact of crises events such as HIV and related diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis. Sub-Saharan Africa as compared to the rest of the world faces a serious HIV epidemic and the poor in general and women in particular are mostly at risk. This group of people is also the target for microfinance initiatives. The study reviews some theoretical and empirical literature about poverty, HIV and microfinance. The chapter establishes the fact that if microfinance can reduce poverty then it could also be used as a tool for preventing HIV infection. Policy recommendation that will enable microfinance institutions to contribute to the prevention of HIV, and its related diseases are offered.
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As of February, 2011, about 11 countries had achieved a two-thirds reduction in their under-five child mortality rate. Another 25 countries are on track to do so. Even though this is a remarkable improvement since 2004 (World Bank, 2011), more than 100 countries remain off track and only a few of them are likely to reach the MDG target on maternal health and child mortality by 2015. The issue of maternal and infant mortality cannot be discussed outside the context of HIV, poverty and hunger. Approximately half of the world’s population live on less than two dollars a day and extremely cases of poverty and it accompanying problem beckons explicitly in many countries. In the world over, some 125 million children are not in school and more than 500 million women are illiterate. About 1.5 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water within some communities in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia and one child in five will not live to see his or her birthday (Chen & Ravallion, 2004).

In addition, about 33 million people are infected with HIV/AIDS globally and HIV/AIDS has claimed more than 25 million lives over the past three decades (WHO, 2011) mostly leaving behind orphans. Every year, about 2.2 million people get infected with the virus. The global picture of HIV/AIDS presented on Table 1 seems to be frightening.

Table 1.
Global summary of HIV/AIDS, 2009
CategoryPLWHANew InfectionsAIDS Deaths
Children < 15 yrs2.5m370,000260,000

WHO and UNAIDS, 2009 *N/A= not available

Table 1 shows that more than 50% of infected adults die of AIDS globally and again about 70.3% of infected children die of AIDS globally. It is therefore not possible that by 2015 the world will be able to meet MDG targets on HIV/AIDS.

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