The impact of cash transfers on social determinants of health and health inequalities in Sub-Saharan Africa: A systematic review protocol

Ebenezer Owusu-Addo, Andre M. N. Renzaho, Ajay S. Mahal, Ben J. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is increasing pressure to address the social determinants of health (SDoH) and health inequities through the implementation of culturally acceptable interventions particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) where health outcomes are generally poor. Available evaluation research on cash transfers (CTs) suggests that the programs may influence the wider determinants of health in SSA; yet, there has been no attempt to synthesize the evidence regarding their contribution to tackling the SDoH and health inequalities. To date, nearly all the reviews on CTs' impact on health have predominantly featured evidence from Latin America with limited transferability to the social, cultural, and political environments in SSA. Therefore, the aim of this study is to undertake a systematic review to assess the role of CTs in tackling the wider determinants of health and health inequalities in SSA. 

Methods/design: A systematic review of published and unpublished literature on CTs' impact on health and health determinants covering the period 2000-2016 will be undertaken. Studies will be considered for inclusion if they present quantitative or qualitative data, including all relevant study designs. The SDoH conceptual framework will be used to guide the data extraction process. EPPI Reviewer software will be used for data management and analysis. Studies included in the review will be analyzed by narrative synthesis and/or meta-analysis as appropriate for the nature of the data retrieved. 

Discussion: This review will provide empirical evidence on the impact of CTs on SDoH to inform CT policy, implementation, and research in SSA. The protocol follows the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P). 

Systematic review registration: This protocol has been registered with the PROSPERO international prospective register of systematic reviews, reference CRD42015025015.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
Number of pages13
JournalSystematic Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2016


  • Cash transfers
  • Social determinants of health
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Systematic review

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