Estimating the Economic Cost of HIV/Aids in Rural Ghana (A Case Study- Kassena Nankana East District of Upper East Region)

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This project aims to investigate and estimate the economic cost (direct, indirect and intangible costs) of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on rural livelihoods in Navrogo district of the Upper East Region of Ghana. To estimate the cost, a household survey was conducted in Navirongo district in the upper east region of Ghana. A multi-stage sampling was used. The first stage was the choosing of the districts. The District was chosen because it encompasses one of the poorest districts in Ghana. This was done so that results reflected the economic cost of the HIV/AIDS on the livelihood of poor community in Ghana. The second part of the questionnaire looked into the cost incurred by the household as a result of a member of the household infected and sick of HIV infection. The respondents were people who have visited the hospital within the past one year. A total of 200 households were covered by the survey. To achieve a broader coverage, only one respondent was interviewed in a household. The researcher also estimated how each cost varies with patients characteristics. The current findings provide important information regarding the relationship between cost components (directs, indirect and intangible cost) and patients characteristics. Although some of the estimated coefficients of explanatory variables were not significant at 5% level, the entire regressions were significant. It was evident from the findings that the highest infected age group was 21-40 years. This is due to increasing early sexual activity, and it is even believed that HIV/AIDS prevalence in this youthful age group was more than the proportion recorded. The direct treatment cost of HIV is extremely high and this is leading many household into extreme poverty. This conclusion became evident as it was found from the study that household spent half (50.04%) of their income on treating HIV and its associated sickness. These results suggest that there is a strong relationship between direct cost of treatment and incomes of patients. The result also indicated a strong relationship between indirect cost and income of patient. Age, income and higher education influence intangible cost (in terms of suffering, social exclusion, stigmatisation and all other forms of embarrassment associated with HIV/AIDS of HIV patients). Recommendations made focused on cost reduction and distribution. These include suggestions that HIV/AIDS treatment centers be opened in rural communities in Ghana and treatments should be free of charge. This will reduced high direct cost of treatment associated with HIV. Intangible can be reduced if policymakers are to address HIV-related stigma by reviewing discriminatory laws and helping monitor their enforcement when they arise.
A Thesis Submitted to the Department of Economics, Faculty of Social Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Award of A Master of Arts Degree in Economics,