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Unformatted text preview: Policy Brief 43% The amount that average home values in the program area exceeded those in the comparison area. Families in communities where the FPMCH program was implemented became wealthier and healthier than families who lived in other, similar communities. Women living in the program area had on average 1.5 fewer children than women in the comparison area. BY JAMES GRIBBLE AND MAJ-LIS VOSS MAY 2009 FAMILY PLANNING AND ECONOMIC WELL-BEING: NEW EVIDENCE FROM BANGLADESH Family planning is one of the most cost-effective health interventions in the developing world. 1 For decades, research has shown that for a relatively modest investment, family planning saves lives and improves maternal and child health. Although it seems intuitive that investing in family planning would also lift fami- lies out of poverty by helping poor women have fewer children, there have been relatively few studies to shed light on this relationship. Now, a new study on Bangla- desh provides evidence that long-term investment in an integrated family planning and maternal and child health (FPMCH) program contributes to improved economic security for families, households, and communities through larger incomes, greater accumulation of wealth, and higher levels of education. 2 The evidence indicates that family planning and maternal-child health services help reduce poverty, the first goal of the Millennium Development Goals. 3 This policy brief draws primarily on the research of Shareen Joshi and T. Paul Schultz, who used the 1996 Matlab Health and Socioeconomic Survey and census data collected in 1974, 1978, and 1982 to examine the effects of long-term investment in the Matlab, Bangla- desh, FPMCH program. 4 Their findings indicate that families in communities where the FPMCH program was implemented became wealthier and healthier than families who lived in other communities that were similar when the Matlab program was begun. Joshi and Schultz will be publishing a series of papers that explore the long-term benefits of the Matlab program. Other important sources for this brief include the works of Vincent Fauveau and Ruth Levine. 5 Sustained Investment in Family Planning In designing the FPMCH program, Matlab program man- agers selected similar villages, putting half of the villages in the program group to receive integrated FPMCH ser- vices, which over time included family planning, maternal tetanus inoculations, antenatal care, measles immu- nizations, and oral rehydration therapy, among other services. The other half of the villages, referred to as the comparison group, received services routinely provided POPULATION REFERENCE BUREAU by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health. Data from the 1974 census of the area indicated that the education levels among children and adults, as well as the type of hous- ing they lived in, were similar between the two groups....
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- Spring '11
- Millennium Development Goals, Child mortality, FPMCH