A global study recently published in the magazine Nature reveals a solution to lowering death rates among women: make cash grants to them and their families. In countries making such payments, deaths among women fell by 20 percent, while deaths among children younger than five dropped by eight percent. The analysis encompassed seven million people in 37 countries.
The results were roughly the same whether the grants had strings attached, such as school attendance, or where payments had no additional requirements.
In a companion piece in the New York Times, University of North Carolina epidemiologist Audrey Pettifor said the findings are relevant for rich and poor countries alike. Meanwhile, concerns about misuse of the funds, such as squandering money on drugs, alcohol or junk food, turn out to be trivial. “The data just doesn’t back that up,” she said.