Do Health Services Reduce Maternal Mortality? Evidence from Ratings of Maternal Health Programs

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Author(s): Bulatao R A, Ross J A

Year: 2001

Objectives. The study investigates whether maternal mortality ratios in developing countries are related to health service adequacy. Methods. Service ratings were obtained from an average of 17 experts in each of 49 developing countries and used in cross-national regressions for alternative measures of maternal mortality. Results. The rated adequacy of access to services was one of two significant predictors, the other being national per capita income. Among services, those involving emergency treatment and avoidance of births (abortion and family planning) had stronger relationships with maternal mortality than those involving prevention (antenatal care) and risk identification (general delivery care). Conclusions. Besides socioeconomic development, health services can contribute to lower maternal mortality, and more narrowly targeted services have a greater statistical effect.

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