Why do families still not receive the child support grant in South Africa? A longitudinal analysis of a cohort of families across South Africa

BMC International Health and Human Rights (Impact Factor: 1.44). 10/2012; 12(1):24. DOI: 10.1186/1472-698X-12-24
Source: PubMed


Child cash transfers are increasingly recognised for their potential to reduce poverty and improve health outcomes. South Africa‘s child support grant (CSG) constitutes the largest cash transfer in the continent. No studies have been conducted to look at factors associated with successful receipt of the CSG. This paper reports findings on factors associated with CSG receipt in three settings in South Africa (Paarl in the Western Cape Province, and Umlazi and Rietvlei in KwaZulu-Natal).

This study used longitudinal data from a community-based cluster-randomized trial (PROMISE EBF) promoting exclusive breastfeeding by peer-counsellors in South Africa ( NCT00397150). 1148 mother-infant pairs were enrolled in the study and data on the CSG were collected at infant age 6, 12, 24 weeks and 18–24 months. A stratified cox proportional hazards regression model was fitted to the data to investigate factors associated with CSG receipt.

Uptake of the CSG amongst eligible children at a median age of 22 months was 62% in Paarl, 64% in Rietvlei and 60% in Umlazi. Possessing a birth certificate was found to be the strongest predictor of CSG receipt (HR 3.1, 95% CI: 2.4 -4.1). Other factors also found to be independently associated with CSG receipt were an HIV-positive mother (HR 1.2, 95% CI: 1.0-1.4) and a household income below R1100 (HR1.7, 95% CI: 1.1 -2.6).

Receipt of the CSG was sub optimal amongst eligible children showing administrative requirements such as possessing a birth certificate to be a serious barrier to access. In the spirit of promoting and protecting children’s rights, more efforts are needed to improve and ease access to this cash transfer program.

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Available from: Tanya Doherty, Jun 04, 2015
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    • "Since its implementation, one of the major concerns about the CSG has been take-up rates, particularly for younger children (15–17). More recent evidence has reported take-up rates of about 60% for children under 2 years (9, 17), and even lower take-up rates for children under 6 months (17). Children who receive the CSG early after birth have been shown to achieve better growth (height-for-age) and nutritional status than children who receive it later (7). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Cash transfers (CTs) are increasingly used as a strategy to alleviate poverty and improve child health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. The Child Support Grant (CSG) is the largest CT programme in South Africa, and on the continent, targeting poor children from birth until the age of 18 with a monthly sum of R300 (USD30). Evidence on the CSG shows that early receipt of the grant is associated with improved child health outcomes. Since its implementation, one of the major concerns about the grant has been take-up rates, particularly for younger children. This paper reports results on take-up rates for 12-week-old infants residing in an urban township in South Africa. Methods This is a descriptive study utilising data from a community-based, cluster-randomised trial which evaluated a programme providing pregnancy and post-natal home visits by community health workers to 3,494 mothers in Umlazi township, South Africa. Results At the 12-week visit, half (52%) of the mothers who had enrolled in the study had applied for the CSG on behalf of their children, while 85% of the mothers who had not applied were still planning to apply. Only 38% (1,327) of all children had received the CSG. Conclusions In this study, many mothers had not applied for the CSG in the first few months after delivery, and only a third of children had accessed the grant. Further research is needed to understand what the current barriers are that prevent mothers from applying for this important form of social protection in the early months after delivery.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Global Health Action
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    • "Within each country and site, clusters were randomised 1:1 to either the intervention (provision of EBF peer-counselling) or the control arm (where EBF was not promoted by our research team) [18]. This was also the case in South Africa, and in addition a separate team of peer supporters supported the families to obtain birth certificates and social welfare grants in the control clusters [20]. This was believed not to interfere with breastfeeding behaviour. "
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    ABSTRACT: In this multi-country cluster-randomized behavioural intervention trial promoting exclusive breastfeeding (EBF) in Africa, we compared growth of infants up to 6 months of age living in communities where peer counsellors promoted EBF with growth in those infants living in control communities.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · BMC Public Health
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    ABSTRACT: 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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Global Public Health
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