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Access to microcredit for women living with, or vulnerable to, HIV in Haiti

  • Authors: Longuet C, Machuron JL, Deschamps MM, Sinior R, Brignoli E, Pape JW, Miribel B.

  • Journal: Field Actions Sci. Rep., 2, 85–91, 2009.

  • Type: Article

  • Directorate: Medical Directorate

  • Published: 2009

Abstract

Haïti is the poorest country on the American continent. It is also the Caribbean nation where HIV prevalence is the highest: 2.2% of the adults carry the virus. In 2005, GHESKIO, a centre for the care of people living with HIV/AIDS; ACME, Association for Cooperation with Micro Enterprise; and Fondation Mérieux launched a microcredit programme to help women living with HIV/AIDS. The programme was subsequently extended to vulnerable women who had consulted at GHESKIO. In 2006, an impact assessment of the programme among the first 66 women benefiting from a loan showed better living conditions compared to a control group of 30 women with similar initial medical and socioeconomic status but no loan. By mid-2008, 1061 women were the beneficiaries of 1538 loans totalling 11 373 000 gourdes, i.e. approximately 216 000€. Of these, 247 received several loans (up to seven loans to date). Although the women are very poorly educated and live in arduous economic circumstances, the loan repayment records are excellent – around 94% as of mid 2008. There is no difference between HIV-negative women and those living with HIV. Combined with antiretroviral treatment, micro-financing is certainly one of the major instruments for reducing the impact of HIV on the infected populations in countries with limited resources. This programme in Haiti is a demonstration of the feasibility of microcredit in a difficult environment. The great professionalism of the institutions implementing the programme is a key factor in its success.

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