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Background: Egypt is undergoing rapid socioeconomic changes that affect health and social distribution of its citizens. One of the most increasingly employed poverty alleviation strategies is Cash Transfer (CT) programs. CT Programs are expected to improve all aspects of citizens’ lives, including their health status. CT Programs are classified into two types; Conditional (CCT) and Unconditional (UCT).
Aim: This study was carried out to assess the impact of UCT programs on the health status of Beneficiary Families through comparing them with Non Beneficiary Families.
Methods: A community-based, cross sectional comparative study was conducted in a randomly selected urban area in Cairo - Egypt. The sample included all the 200 registered Beneficiary Families at the Social Affairs Office, Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity and 200 Non Beneficiary Families. A questionnaire form was used to record data about members of the 400 families during a household survey. Analysis was performed using SPSS statistical software (version 17.0). The following was estimated at family level: disease burden (estimated as the sum of years lost due to morbidity and premature death) and extent of health service utilization.
Results: The study findings revealed that the disease burden was 7995 years among Beneficiary Families with a mean of 8 years per family member versus 5000 years for Non Beneficiary Families (mean =5 years/ family member). For health service utilization in the three months preceding the study, 31% of Beneficiary Family members received health services versus 35% of Non Beneficiary Family members (p=0.03).
Conclusion: UCT is not enough to ensure better health status of beneficiary families. Policy makers should encourage moving towards conditional forms of CT programs and increasing the amount of cash payments.
Unconditional cash transfer Programs, Beneficiary families, Egypt, Community based study, Health Insurance, Health Benefits