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Save the Children

Mozambique assessment: the impact of HIV/AIDS on household economy

Celia Petty, Kerry Selvester, John Seaman, James Acidri

Save the Children

March 2004

SARPN acknowledges the Save the Children website as the source of this document:
The report was published in March 2004.
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Executive Summary

  1. This study forms part of a four-country research programme funded by DfID. The overall goal is to develop methods of measuring and analysing poverty and modelling the impact of change at household level.

  2. The aim of the Mozambique study was to test the use of individual household economy methods in an area of high HIV/AIDS prevalence; to identify the main factors affecting income levels in HIV affected and non affected households and to explore possible uses of household economy methods in programme design and monitoring.

  3. The study was conducted in a rural trading community, in a high potential maize producing area, about 40 km from the provincial capital, Chimoio.

  4. Household economy methods were used to describe and quantify the components of household income and expenditure, including food production and employment. Random sampling techniques were applied.

  5. Detailed demographic information was collected for all household members, including providers of remittance income. The presence of orphans1 in a household was used as a proxy for HIV/AIDS.2 21% of all households fall into this HIV/AIDS affected category. Orphans make up 8% of the total population.

  6. Comparisons were made between the income and standard of living of households across the study population. These were based on comparisons of disposable income i.e. income remaining after the household had met its food requirements. A minimum standard of living was established, including basic needs and primary school costs; the standard was designed to be consistent with international Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 10 households (approximately 9%) fell below the minimum standard of living.

  7. An estimate was made of (I) the cost of supporting orphans as a percentage of household income (see table 2). This ranged from around 7% in the poorest households to less than 1% in the wealthiest and (ii) the effect of the recent drought on household production and living standards. A simulation of a return to non drought maize had only a small effect on total disposable income (4.8% across the community). However, the percentage change in disposable income among some of the poorest households was substantial (fig 8)

  8. Analysis of the poorest 10 households (which fell below the minimum standard of living) did not show any single shared characteristics. The proportion of widow headed households was greater than in the population as a whole, although widows are found across the entire wealth distribution. Non of the poorest households was able to meet its food needs from own production and a return to non drought conditions would have a negligible impact.

  9. This study provides quantitative information that could be used to guide policy and interventions and to estimate the investment costs of raising living standards. As the causes of poverty vary considerably, individual case work is also needed to match assistance to household needs and capacities.


  1. Orphans are defined locally (and in this study) as children who have lost one or both parents.

  2. The cause of death was not known definitively; however, adult HIV prevalence in this area is estimated at 21% so it is reasonable to assume that a large number of ‘prime age’ adult deaths resulting in orphans can be attributed to HIV/AIDS

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