Worldwide, it is estimated that 287,000 women die in childbirth every year (210 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births) and 7,614,000 children do not survive past the age of five years (an under-five mortality rate of 51 per thousand live births).1 Reducing maternal and child mortality is one of the priorities of the international community, as enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals, and of many developing country governments.
Many of the deaths could be averted if women and children had access to and utilized cheap, cost effective, life-saving technologies and services such as effective antenatal care, immunization, insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs) in malaria-prone areas, water purification kits, and oral rehydration solutions (ORS). However, the adoption and effective delivery of these and other health promotion products such as health insurance is often very low in many developing countries.
To address these issues, J-PAL hosted a one-day conference on “Improving Take-up and Delivery of Maternal and Child Health Services in Developing Countries” at MIT in Cambridge, USA on Friday, 23 May 2014 under the umbrella of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) P01 grant, “Maternal and Child Health in Poor Countries: Evidence from Randomized Evaluations”.
The program featured evidence from randomized evaluations of interventions designed to promote uptake and better delivery of these protective health goods and services to improve maternal and child health. Researchers presented results from evaluations on the following topics, which included the four studies conducted under the NIH P01 grant:
- Should Aid Reward Performance: Evidence from a Field Experiment on Health and Education in Indonesia (Benjamin A. Olken, MIT; Junko Onishi, World Bank; Susan Wong, World Bank)
1World Health Organization, 2013