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Cash Transfers to Promote Safe Motherhood: Evidence from Bangladesh’s Maternity Allowance Program

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Author: Jetha, Qayam
This study examines the efficacy of Bangladesh’s Maternity Allowance Program (MAP), a monthly cash transfer to rural mothers for the promotion of maternal health. Using primary data, the analysis assesses the impact of the MAP on its four objectives: increasing breastfeeding rates, increasing maternity service uptake, enhancing nutrition, and promoting safe infant upbringing. The quantitative component of the study uses propensity score matching. This technique isolates the effect of the program by matching control and treatment observations by their estimated probabilities of program participation. Focus group discussions and informant interviews were conducted to substantiate the quantitative findings and expand on the operational efficiency of the program. Drawing on the empirical findings, the study concludes by presenting a series of policy recommendations. These recommendations seek to enhance the effectiveness of the MAP and aim to increase its importance as a substantive element of Bangladesh’s system of social protection.
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