Assessing the Effectiveness of Cash Transfers on Increasing Use of Maternal and Newborn Services in Mozambique

Organization: 
Save the Children Federation, Inc.
Organization Location: 
Westport, CT USA

Equity is key to reducing maternal and child mortality in Mozambique. The country still presents significant gaps between the richest and the poorest quintile for key MNCHN interventions: Skilled birth attendance is estimated at 55.3%, but only at 36.1% in the poorest quintile of the population (MICS 2008).

Through a cluster-randomized intervention trial, we will assess the effectiveness of conditional cash transfers on increasing use of maternal and newborn health services. Antenatal care, skilled birth attendance and post-natal care within 48 hours of delivery will be the variables studied. The main actors are Save the Children, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the First National Bank (FNB). FNB has developed and tested methods to transfer cash to individuals in remote communities via mobile phones and local shops; this study will test the feasibility of this model for health services.

Demand side financing is a key approach in the agenda of the Ministry of Health to improve the uptake of quality health services, and in particular to increase institutional deliveries. This study will support the Ministry of Health’s testing of new models in the recently-approved National Strategy of Basic Social Security and will generate evidence for the scientific and policy debate at regional level on the impact of monetary transfers in resource-poor settings.

The Health Partners Group, which supports the Ministry of Health, fully supports the proposed initiative, as this pilot study can inform larger scale demand side financing interventions, to be designed and launched in Mozambique over the coming months.