Analyzing the Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions to Benefit Orphans and Vulnerable Children: Evidence from Kenya and Tanzania

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Author(s): ThurmanTR, Hutchinson P

Year: 2009


In an attempt to improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in sub-Saharan Africa, the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief provides funding to programs that supply wide-ranging services to OVC and their families. While the programs have a similar objective, the improvement of OVC well-being, they may differ substantially in the types of services they provide: educational support, vocational training, or other income generating skills; food aid; support groups for guardians; home visiting that includes basic psychosocial support or assistance with anti-retroviral therapy; HIV education, recreational opportunities, and individual counseling for children. Their approaches may involve (individually or jointly) direct support to OVC, indirect support to OVC guardians, or more widespread support to communities as a whole. In order to provide some further insight on the success of these programs, this paper attempts a rudimentary cost-effectiveness analysis by linking measures of intervention costs for four OVC programs in Kenya and Tanzania to measures of program outcomes. These results provide some evidence that investments in OVC programs, particularly school-based HIV education and counseling for children and savings and internal lending committees for guardians, can achieve improvements in their well-being at a fairly low cost per beneficiary.

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