Does demand-side financing impact maternal health?

Systematic review of demand-side financing for maternal health: examining evidence on effectiveness, feasibility, appropriateness and meaningfulness

Speakers: Susan F Murray and Ben Hunter, King's College London
Date: 28 November 2013, 17.30-19.00
Venue: Lower Meeting Room, LIDC, 36 Gordon Square, London


There is good evidence that demand-side financing interventions such as cash payments, vouchers and CCTs help to increase the use of priority maternity services including childbirth in healthcare facilities. However, other social, geographical and financial barriers to access limit their impact. 

Increasingly policymakers in low- and middle-income countries are considering the use of demand-side financing to the poor to provide direct subsidies to improve maternal health. Most studies to date have been too small or the follow-up too short to assess impacts on health outcomes. There is also a lack of evidence on cost-effectiveness.

The review team searched for and synthesised evidence on five forms of demand-side financing that have been used with the aim increasing the use of maternal health services and improving health outcomes.

Susan Murray is Reader in International Healthcare in King's International Development Institute (IDI). She is a social scientist and maternal health specialist, and led this mixed-methods review which was funded by AusAID.

Ben Hunter was research assistant on the systematic review. He is currently a doctoral student at King's IDI and researching the contracting of private sector services to provide maternity care in Uttar Pradesh, India.

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