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Chowa, G. | Masa, R. | Wu, S.
2014 | Uganda

Impact of an asset-building program on self-perceived health of low-income individuals in rural Uganda

Economic Security

Background: Asset development is a key strategy to promote economic and social development in sub-Saharan Africa. Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that participation in asset-building programs contribute to a range of positive wellbeing outcomes, including financial, educational and psychological. However, little is known about the impact of asset development programs on health outcomes. We examined the impact of AssetsAfrica project on self-perceived health status of low-income individuals in Masindi, Uganda. AssetsAfrica was a demonstration and research initiative designed to test asset-building innovations through a matched savings program with financial and livelihood training. Methods: We used data (N = 273) from AssetsAfrica. Fifty-four percent (n = 148) of the sample was assigned to the intervention group. Self-perceived health was measured by a single item that asked individuals to describe their health status. We used propensity score analysis to examine the impact of AssetsAfrica on self-perceived health. Data were collected pre- and post-intervention. Results: A majority of participants were men (55%) and most (86%) have some formal education. Most individuals (79%) rated their health as good or better. Treatment participants have higher odds of positive self-rated health status (AOR = 2.02, 95% CI 0.97–4.22, P < 0.10) than comparison participants. Discussion: The positive impact of AssetsAfrica on self-perceived health status suggests that an economic strengthening program may have potential utility as a health-related intervention. In particular, asset development programs may positively influence health perception. Better self-perceived health, in turn, is associated with desirable health outcomes including higher life expectancy.

Chowa, G., Masa, R., & Wu, S. (2014, November). Impact of an asset-building program on self-perceived health of low-income individuals in rural Uganda. Paper presented at the 142nd Annual Meeting of the American Public Health Association, New Orleans, LA, November 15-19.