Strategies to improve maternal and newborn health care in low-income settings can be cost-effective, though the evidence is limited, suggests a recent systematic review published in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth on 22 July 2014.
The review, led by Dr Lindsay Mangham-Jefferies, IDEAS Economist at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, showed there was reasonably strong evidence from specific settings for the cost–effectiveness of:
- the use of women’s groups to promote maternla and newborn health care and health practices
- home-based newborn care using community health workers and traditional birth attendants
- extending routine antenatal care to deliver additional life-saving interventions
- a facility-based quality improvement initiative to enhance compliance with care standards
- the promotion of breastfeeding in maternity hospitals
However, these findings are limited due to the lack of high quality studies available and the inability to compare studies due to the use of a variety of cost-effectiveness measures.
The review shows a need for the maternal and newborn health community to do more and better quality cost-effectiveness evaluations.
Watch a video of Dr Lindsay Mangham-Jefferies, lead author and IDEAS Economist, talking with Krystyna Makowiecka, IDEAS Technical Resource Centre Lead, about the paper for our monthly research highlight:
Mangham-Jefferies L, Pitt C, Cousens S, Mills A, Schellenberg J. (2014) Cost-effectiveness of strategies to improve the utilization and provision of maternal and newborn health care in low-income and lower-middle-income countries: a systematic review. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 14:243