Poverty reduction and evaluation research
Economic impact of maternal deaths in China
Reproductive health programmes have not been as effective as others, particularly HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, in demonstrating that failure to address the reproductive health-needs of poor women can undermine poverty reduction. In part this is because of gaps in the evidence base that directly relate improvements in reproductive health to poverty reduction. As such, there is a pressing need for additional evidence on how interventions that improve maternal and newborn health contribute to reducing poverty. One reason why much existing research has not effectively addressed the effects of poor reproductive health on poverty is that studies have relied on interrupted time series data generated by observational surveys and provide suggestions of effects only but not strong evidence. Prospective, longitudinal surveys of the same cohort are needed to track changes over time among the same population, describing the relationship between reproductive health and household level measures of poverty.
The Department of Reproductive Health and Research (RHR) is supporting research being conducted the Peking University, Department of Maternal and Child Health, which aims to identify the economic impact of maternal death at the household level in rural China. The study utilizes a prospective controlled cohort study designed to compare the experiences of families that have suffered a maternal death and carefully matched families that had a birth with no adverse maternal health outcomes, both between 1 and 3 months after the maternal death/birth, and one year later. The study will investigate the direct and indirect costs of maternal death in the affected households, identify the coping strategies adopted by the households using both quantitative and qualitative research methods. In addition the study will compare changes for both affected and comparison groups' household wealth, incomes and expenditures, and health and education status of the newborn and any siblings.