AIDS treatment and intrahousehold resource allocations: children's nutrition and schooling in Kenya

Case Studies & Research
Center for Global Development
48 p.

The provision of life-saving antiretroviral (ARV) treatment has emerged as a key component of the global response to HIV/AIDS, but very little is known about the impact of this intervention on the welfare of children in the households of treated persons. We estimate the impact of ARV treatment on children's schooling and nutrition outcomes using longitudinal household survey data collected in collaboration with a treatment program in western Kenya. We find that children's weekly hours of school attendance increase by over 20 percent within six months after treatment is initiated for the adult household member. For boys in treatment households, these increases closely follow their reduced market labor supply. Similarly, young children's short-term nutritional status-as measured by their weight-for-height Z-score-also improves dramatically. We also present evidence that the impact of treatment is considerably larger when compared to the counterfactual scenario of no ARV treatment. The results illustrate how intrahousehold allocations of time and resources are altered in response to significant health improvements. Since the improvements in children's schooling and nutrition at these critical early ages will affect their socio-economic outcomes and wellbeing in adulthood, the widespread provision of ARV treatment is likely to generate significant long-run welfare benefits.

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