Impact of Oportunidades on Skilled Attendance at Delivery in Rural Areas
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Author(s): Urquieta J, Angeles G, Mroz T, Lamadrid-Figueroa H, Hernández B
Oportunidades (formerly Progresa) is a conditional cash-transfer program run by the Mexican federal government aimed to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty, which among other activities, provides free delivery attendance for women enrolled in the program. Skilled attendance to delivery has been identified as an effective strategy to reduce maternal mortality. In this paper, we assess the impact of Oportunidades on skilled attendance to delivery, taking advantage of the experimental design implemented for the evaluation of this program in rural areas The main results of the study indicate that Oportunidades had, at best, only a small effect on skilled attendance at delivery in treatment communities. The effect of the program, however, appears to be higher for women with a poverty score near to the eligibility cut-off point, whereas it seems not to have an effect on women in the poorest households. We also find that the program had larger effects on those women who had one birth just prior to the experimental treatment and another birth subsequent to the experimental treatment. However, the impacts of the program seem to be null or even negative when comparing enrolled vs. non-enrolled women in intervention areas. These results should lead to a review about the strategies used by Oportunidades to increase skilled attendance to delivery.
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