This study exploits the introduction of high subsidies for anti-malaria products in Senegal in 2009 to investigate if malaria prevents parents to invest in child health. Building upon the theoretical literature on health investments under competing mortality risks, we argue that there are complementarities between disease-specific investments.
Evidence from malaria control in Senegal
We predict that private health investments to fight malaria as well as other diseases should increase in response to anti-malaria public interventions. To test this prediction, we use original panel data from a Senegalese household survey combined with geographical information on malaria prevalence.
Our strategy is to compare the evolution of child health expenditures before and after antimalaria interventions, between malarious and non-malarious regions of Senegal. We find that health expenditures in malarious regions catch up with non-malarious regions, principally at the extensive margin, and also in level and in composition.
The same result holds for parental health-seeking behavior against other diseases like diarrhea. We provide evidence that these patterns cannot be explained by differential trends between regions. Our results suggest that behavioral responses to anti-malaria campaigns magnify their impact on all-cause mortality for children.