Progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been highly uneven. Poor and otherwise disadvantaged groups lag behind their more fortunate compatriots for most MDGs. Inequalities in maternal and newborn health are huge, and effective interventions are known but rarely reach those who need them most. Few of the poorest women in developing countries receive professional care during delivery, while the majority of their richer compatriots do. The link between socioeconomic disadvantage and health disadvantage has enormous consequences: one third of global childhood deaths are attributable to socioeconomic mortality inequalities within countries. Little is known about how to effectively reach disadvantaged groups, and how to address socioeconomic inequalities in health.
Fresh evidence is needed to understand what works, in which contexts and why, to reach disadvantaged groups and reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health. Well-designed experiments, in the form of randomised controlled trials, are important for understanding the equity-impacts of development activities. They are, however, rare and are not always able to capture the barriers to effective implementation in real life situations. Policy-makers and practitioners have valuable experience of what does and does not work on the ground to reduce health inequalities. This tacit knowledge is rarely written up and shared. This report summarizes the findings from interviews with eleven policy makers and practitioners from India, Nepal and Bangladesh on what works, where, and why to reach lower socioeconomic groups with maternal and newborn health interventions and to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in maternal and neonatal health.
Houweling, T.A.J.; Alcock, G.; Josson, P. Learning from stakeholders for health equity: report of in-depth interviews. (2012) 12 pp.