Improving maternal and child health in Pakistan: a programme evaluation using a difference in difference analysis

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Pakistan is a country with high maternal and infant mortality. Several large foreign funded projects were targeted at improving maternal, neonatal and child health. The Norway-Pakistan Partnership Initiative (NPPI) was one of these projects. This study aims to evaluate whether NPPI was successful in improving access and use of skilled maternal healthcare.

METHODS: We used data from three rounds (2009-2010, 2011-2012 and 2013-2014) of the Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey (PSLM). A difference-in-difference regression framework was used to estimate the effectiveness of NPPI and its different programme components with respect to maternal healthcare seeking behaviour of pregnant women. Various parts of the PSLM were combined to examine the healthcare seeking behaviour response of pregnant women to exposure to NPPI.

RESULTS: Trends in maternal care seeking behaviour of pregnant women were similar in districts exposed to NPPI and control districts. Consequently, only a weak and insignificant impact of NPPI on maternal care seeking behaviour was found. However, women in districts which used vouchers or which implemented contracting were more likely to seek skilled assistance with their delivery.

CONCLUSION: We conclude that the objective to improve access to and use of skilled care was not achieved by NPPI. The small effects identified for vouchers and contracts on skilled birth attendance hold some promise for further experimentation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere006453
JournalBMJ Global Health
Volume6
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

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