New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

Wagner Project to Track Saving Habits of Pregnant Women in Kenya

April 13, 2012

Every year, hundreds of thousands of women across the globe die during childbirth as a result of preventable conditions, some attributable to not being able to afford proper care. Starting in fall 2012, an 18-month research initiative in Kenya will deliver, via mobile phones, a set of interventions designed in part to help pregnant women set aside enough savings to cover the cost of skilled care and delivery assistance.

The research will be conducted by James Habyarimana and Billy Jack, both of Georgetown University, Tavneet Suri
of MIT, and Karen Grépin, an assistant professor of global health policy at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, in collaboration with Changamka, Ltd., a Kenya micro-savings company. Financial support for the project comes from the Microsavings and Payments Innovation Initiative at Yale University, Innovations for Poverty Action, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Grépin, whose research focuses on the economics and politics of health service delivery in developing countries, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, recently spoke with NYU Research Digest about the project.

What’s the specific goal of the project?

Pregnant women in many developing countries, including Kenya, say that financial barriers keep them from seeking proper maternal health services, including skilled assistance at delivery. What are the barriers to increased savings needed to cover the costs associated with delivery? That is the primary question we will attempt to answer.

What role will mobile phones play?

One of the big innovations in this project is that we plan to deliver all of the interventions that we are testing via mobile phones. Mobile phones have become widely available in many developing countries, and people don’t use them just for communication; they are also used as credit cards and bank accounts, especially in Kenya. If we find that our interventions are successful, they can be scaled up rapidly and inexpensively due to the availability of this technological platform.

What unique challenges do you anticipate?

Our primary research site will be in densely populated urban slums in Kenya.  Since we need to track and monitor women for approximately one year, that will be challenging.

Type: Article

Wagner Project to Track Saving Habits of Pregnant Women in Kenya

Search News



NYU In the News

CUSP Unveils its “Urban Observatory”

Crain’s New York Business profiled CUSP’s “Urban Observatory” that is continuously photographing lower Manhattan to gather scientific data.

Post-Sandy Upgrades at the Langone Medical Center

NY1 reported on the major post-Sandy upgrades and renovations made at the Medical Center to protect the hospital from future catastrophic storms.

Steinhardt Research Helps Solve Tough Speech Problems.

The Wall Street Journal reported on research at Steinhardt’s Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, including an interview with Assistant Professor Tara McAllister Byun, that uses ultrasound to help solve tough speech problems.

Times Column Lauds Professor Stevenson’s New Memoir

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote a column about “Just Mercy,” a new memoir by Law Professor Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, whom he noted has been called America’s Nelson Mandela.

Entrepreneurship Lab Opens at NYU

Crain’s New York Business covered the opening of the Mark and Debra Leslie Entrepreneurial eLab, which will be the headquarters for NYU’s Entrepreneurial Institute and all of the University’s programs aimed at promoting innovation and startups.

NYU Footer