The project aims to test whether well-designed and targeted financial incentives can succeed in changing hard-to-change behaviours; in this case using maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) services. The project has been developed in response to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Grand Challenges in Global Health”, under the topic of “inciting healthy behaviours”.
In developing countries, many women give birth at home and rarely see a trained healthcare provider before or after the baby’s birth. This is true even when the health facilities are close to where the women live. Approximately 50 percent of newborn deaths occur on the first day of life; most of these are preventable if women attend clinics and give birth at health facilities. In this Explorations-phase project, we will test the role of cash incentives in overcoming the complex barriers to MNCH attendance and in sustaining a change towards health-seeking behaviour in the study population.
While the pilot focuses on MNCH services, the underlying concept is replicable to several other fields, including work on cookstoves and sanitation, where technologies for reducing health burdens exist but people do not use them.