Increasing the Utilization of Maternity Care: Does Demand-Side Financing Work?

by Sarah Hodin
Women and Health Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, May 8, 2017

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In recent years, demand-side financial incentives have been increasingly used in low- and middle-income countries in an effort to address the well-documented economic barriers to maternal health care access and utilization. In March 2017, Hunter and colleagues published an article in PLOS One titled, “The effects of cash transfers and vouchers on the use and quality of maternity care services: A systematic review,” which included evidence from 51 quantitative studies of 22 programs across 20 countries in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The programs fell into five categories of demand-side financial incentives: conditional cash transfers, unconditional cash transfers, short-term cash payments, vouchers for maternity care services and vouchers for merit goods.

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