Global Public Health
Volume 10, Issue 7, 2015
Policy responses to HIV/AIDS in Central Asia
Svetlana Anckera* & Bernd Rechelb
Published online: 20 Jul 2015
The countries of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) are confronted with one of the fastest growing HIV/AIDS epidemics worldwide, largely driven through injecting drug use. This article, based on a review of academic and grey literature, explores how they have responded. We find major similarities and differences across the region. At one extreme is Turkmenistan, which denies that there is any problem, does not offer harm reduction services or HIV/AIDS treatment and does not report any meaningful data to the international community. Uzbekistan is also pretty closed to outside influences, has discontinued its opioid substitution project and shares with Turkmenistan the legal prohibition of male-to-male sex. Kyrgyzstan originally led many progressive approaches in the region and, like neighbouring Tajikistan, has received substantial assistance by international agencies, in particular the Global Fund. Kazakhstan, with a much higher gross domestic product per capita, has taken on the financing of harm reduction activities through its national budget and has liberalised its drug policies. Yet, across the region punitive approaches to injecting drug use and people living with HIV/AIDS persist as do stigma and discrimination, while coverage with harm reduction programmes and treatment services is still low although with substantial variation across countries.
The experience of cash transfers in alleviating childhood poverty in South Africa: Mothers’ experiences of the Child Support Grant
Wanga Zembe-Mkabilea*, Rebecca Surrenderb, David Sandersc, Debra Jacksonc & Tanya Dohertyacd
Published online: 16 Feb 2015
Cash transfer (CT) programmes are increasingly being used as policy instruments to address child poverty and child health outcomes in developing countries. As the largest cash-transfer programme in Africa, the South African Child Support Grant (CSG) provides an important opportunity to further understand how a CT of its kind works in a developing country context. We explored the experiences and views of CSG recipients and non-recipients from four diverse settings in South Africa. Four major themes emerged from the data: barriers to accessing the CSG; how the CSG is utilised and the ways in which it makes a difference; the mechanisms for supplementing the CSG; and the impact of not receiving the grant. Findings show that administrative factors continue to be the greatest barrier to CSG receipt, pointing to the need for further improvements in managing queues, waiting times and coordination between departments for applicants trying to submit their applications. Many recipients, especially those where the grant was the only source of income, acknowledged the importance of the CSG, while also emphasising its inadequacy. To maximise their impact, CT programmes such as the CSG need to be fully funded and form part of a broader basket of poverty alleviation strategies.