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Health, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction (HEGPR)

Recent statistics reveal that Africa is home to 30% of the world’s poor and its poverty is further exacerbated by ill health. HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis alone account for over 6 million deaths annually and countless hours of lost productivity.

At the rate of an average of 16,438 deaths daily, all efforts must target both preventive and curative measures to the overall benefit of both sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) citizens and the global community. Studies have revealed that countries investing in human capital realize high growth rates and are better placed to reduce poverty only if the health conditions and the environment are conducive. Such an outcome contrasts with the reality in many African countries whose governments, mainly due to resource limitations, and partly due to low awareness levels, allocate lower priority to citizens’ health in national budgets.


This subproject was initiated with two aims: The first was to explore the effects of health-related variables (preventive and promotive measures such as vaccination and nutrition, spread of health facilities, HIV/AIDS infection rates, malaria etc.) on poverty via their impact on economic growth. The second aim was to influence preventive policy measures that will save lives through attachments of PhD students to ministries of finance, health and planning, to address the growing health crisis in Africa occasioned by residual budget allocations. Because empirical evidence on the interactions among health, economic growth and poverty in Africa is lacking, the research project on Health, Economic Growth and Poverty Reduction in Africa is expected to facilitate evidence-based policy responses to managing the African health crisis. The results will be widely disseminated to raise awareness of African governments and policy makers on the need to invest in the health sector.

Membership of Project Steering Committee

  1. Olu Ajakaiye (Chair)
  2. William Lyakurwa
  3. David Sahn (Project Coordinator)
  4. Germano Mwabu
  5. Duncan Thomas
  6. Lambo Eyitayo
  7. Martine Audbert
  8. Robert Eastwood
  9. Murray Leibbrandt


Eight framework papers were commissioned to provide intellectual guidance to the project. The commissioned papers are:


  1. Evaluations of Health Interventions in Africa: What has been Learned to Date by Peter Glick
  2. Health, Health Inequality and the Distribution of Income Across Populations of Individuals by David Sahn
  3. Modeling the Causal Effect of Health on Social and Economic Prosperity: A survey of Methods and Findings by Duncan Thomas
  4. Effects of Macroeconomic Policies (Fiscal, Trade, Exchange Rate, Structural Adjustment, etc.) on Health and Health inequality by Ibi Ajayi
  5. The Causal Effect of Socioeconomic Status and other Supply Side Factors such as Prices and Service Quality, on Health and the Demand for Health Services: A survey of Methods and Findings by  Germano Mwabu
  6. Micro-estimation/macro Simulation/Cross-country Models: A survey of Methods and Findings (including CGEs)”  by  Robert Eastwood
  7. Issues and Challenges of Measurement of Health: Implications for Economic Research by Martine Audibert
  8. Program and Policy Evaluation: What we have Learned to Date on What Works and Why, with a Focus on Issues of Challenges of Randomization and Internal and External Validity by Justine Burns; Rebecca Thornton; Malcolm Keswell.

These framework papers have been posted on the AERC website and are currently being published. Following this, 15 country case studies were approved out of 81 proposals submitted.

These country case studies are on-going and include:


  1. Health Financing and Inequality in Payment for Health Care:  Evidence from Household-Level Survey Data in Botswana and Lesotho by Oluyele Akinkugbe and Chitalu Chama (Miss)
  2. Health, Labour Productivity and Distribution of Wages/Incomes in Cameroon by Benjamin Kamga Fomba and  Arline Kamga Kengne
  3. Impact du Statut Socio-économique sur la Sante au Congo Brazzaville : Cas des Maladies diarrhéiques chez les Enfants de Moins de Cinq Ans by André Moulemvo
  4. Integrated Financial Services and Child Nutrition: Are there Any Spill-over Effects? Evidence from Ghana by Samuel Annim and  Katsushi Imai
  5. The Effects of Socioeconomic Status on the Demand for Prenatal, Postnatal and Health Insurance Services; and Health Status in Ghana by Vijay K. Bhasin and Camara K. Obeng
  6. Impact of Parental Socioeconomic Status on Child Health Outcomes in Kenya by Dr. Mercy Mugo and Dhimn Munguti Nzoya
  7. Sante et Inégalité de Revenu au Niger: Evidence des Disparités Régionales: A Travers Les Avancées et les Limites de la Gratuite Des Soins by Dr Amadou Ousmane,  Dr Ousseini Aichatou and Hamidou Ousseini
  8. An Analysis of the Growth-Health-Poverty Nexus in Nigeria by  M. Adetunji Babatunde and Dipo T. Busari
  9. Effect of Socioeconomic Status and Supply-side Factors on Health Status and Demand for Health Care Services in Nigeria by A.I Adeoti, Awoniyi B,  and O.O Akintunde
  10. Explaining the Health Status of Children in Sierra Leone: Parental Socioeconomic Status and Demand for Health Inputs by Dr. Mohamed Jalloh , Mr. Santigie Mohamed Kargbo
  11. Exploring the Health, Growth, Inequality and Poverty Nexus: Comparing Lag-augmented Causality, Bound Test and Simultaneous Equations models for South Africa by Nicholas Ngepah
  12. Analyse des inégalités de santé Nutritionnelle des Enfants au Togo by Mr. Kodjo Abalo, Mr. Yélé Maweki Batana and Mlle. Ablamba Johnson
  13. Causes of Health Inequalities in Uganda: Evidence from the Uganda Demographic and Health Surveys: 1995-2006 by Sarah Ssewanyana and Ibrahim Kasirye
  14. Ill Health and Labour Market Outcomes in Uganda: Evidence from the 2005/06 National Household Survey by Dr. Matovu Fred Sebaggala Richard and Patrick Birungi
  15. Assessing the Effects of Health on Zimbabwe’s Economic Performance  by Makochekanwa Albert  and Kwaramba Marko

An Inception and Capacity building workshop was held between August 10-12, 2010 in Cape Town, South Africa.  This was followed by an interim research report review workshop in March 19-20, 2011 in Nairobi, Kenya. The final research report review workshop was held 10-11 September 2011. The dissemination activities undertaken include presentation of eight papers at a two parallel session organized by the AERC at the 2012 Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) on Economic Development in Africa on March 18-20, 2012 at Oxford, the 14th Senior Policy Seminar, held on March 26-28, 2012 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with the outputs of this project disseminated to senior policy makers from Sub-Saharan Africa. Dissemination grants were issued to researchers and all the teams held their in-country dissemination workshops. Selected papers from the project, are being edited by Prof. David Sahn, the project coordinator, and will be published in a special issue of the African Development Review. 


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