Jul 30, 2010

Efforts To Reduce Maternal Mortality In India Through Cash Aids

AUTHOR:Steven Lim, et al and Emily WaxSOURCE:The Lancet

A recent study in the Lancet has shown that in-facility births in India’s poorest districts (Uttar Pradesh and Bihar) increased when clients were given cash. The study is in its early phase but has demonstrated a reduction in perinatal and neonatal death rates. Unfortunately, the study could access the effect on maternal mortality. Also, there were many problems with this approach. Namely, it did not take into account the state of the health facilities. Often times, the facilities were understaffed, overburdened and lacked the proper equipment and supplies to monitor and treat the basic procedures following birth, e.g., neonatal resuscitation and kangaroo care. In addition, after the mother receives her money there is in adequate time to educate the mother regarding the need for post-natal care. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has promoted cash giveaways to mothers who deliver at the hospitals and according to the Indian health workers this program is working. This plan only promotes but not mandates women to seek postnatal care. Unless a holistic strategy is utilized where mothers are made aware and receive proper post-natal care/treatment a program that solely relies on cash incentives will be insufficient to reduce maternal/neonatal/infant mortality rates. Life For Mothers (LFM) emphasizes the need for a comprehensive and holistic strategy where the facility is well equipped and staffed. LFM also recognizes that women may need to be incentivized to deliver in a health facility that can treat basic and complicated aspects of childbirth. Only then will lives be saved. Here are the links to the Lancet article as well as the article that was published in the Washington Post:



Did you know?

99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.

Source:The World Health Organization (WHO), 2010

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