The maternal mortality ratio in Bangladesh has declined from more than 600 per 100,000 live births in 1980 to 322 in 2004, yet it is still unacceptably high. Economic barriers are an important factor in deterring pregnant women from seeking services at health facilities. To achieve the country’s Millennium Development Goal of reducing the maternal mortality ratio to 143 by 2015, the Population Council conducted an operations research study to test the feasibility and effectiveness of introducing an innovative model of health care financing to increase utilization of maternal health services by poor, rural women. As this report notes, “Voucher Books‟ were designed through which pregnant women would receive a package of essential maternal health care services as well as treatment of pregnancy and delivery-related complications. Although the proportion of women using antenatal care, postnatal care, institutional deliveries, and deliveries assisted by trained providers increased significantly, they remained relatively low after the intervention. Recommendations were made for scaling up these activities in other areas of Bangladesh.
Rahman, Md. Moshiur, Ubaidur Rob, and Tasnima Kibria. 2009. "Implementation of maternal health financial scheme in rural Bangladesh." Dhaka: Population Council.
Improving the Quality of Reproductive Health Services to Increase Demand
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