Access to microcredit for women living with, or vulnerable to, HIV in Haiti
23 Feb 2009
1Fondation Mérieux, 17, rue Bourgelat, 69002 Lyon, France
2GHESKIO, 33, Boulevard Harry Truman, Port-au-Prince, Haïti
3ACME, 11, rue Bois Patate, Port-au-Prince, Haïti
4bioMérieux Brasil SA, Estrada do Mapuá 491, Taquara, Jacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro, RJ 22710-261, Brasil
Abstract. Haiti 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.