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

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.

A Globalizer for N.Y.U. in Abu Dhabi

The New York Times profiled Bill Bragin who will become the first executive artistic director of NYU Abu Dhabi’s new performing arts center.

Think Tank to Ponder a Future for Ballet

The New York Times profiled Jennifer Homans, the director of NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts.

The Brilliant Ten: Jonathan Viventi Builds Devices That Decode Thoughts

Popular Science named Assistant Bioengineering Professor Jonathan Viventi as one of its “brilliant ten” for his research into brain implants that could one day halt epileptic episodes:

Living and Leaving the Dream: Adrian Cardenas’ Journey from the Major Leagues to College

The New York Times ran a feature on Adrian Cardenas, a former major league baseball player who is now studying philosophy and creating writing at NYU.

NYU Footer