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Publication Detail
Effectiveness of conditional cash transfers (Afya credits incentive) to retain women in the continuum of care during pregnancy, birth and the postnatal period in Kenya: a cluster-randomised trial
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Vanhuyse F, Stirrup O, Odhiambo A, Palmer T, Dickin S, Skordis J, Batura N, Haghparast-Bidgoli H, Mwaki A, Copas A
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  • Journal:
    BMJ Open
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  • Keywords:
    Community child health, maternal medicine, public health
  • Notes:
    This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
OBJECTIVES: Given high maternal and child mortality rates, we assessed the impact of conditional cash transfers (CCTs) to retain women in the continuum of care (antenatal care (ANC), delivery at facility, postnatal care (PNC) and child immunisation). DESIGN: We conducted an unblinded 1:1 cluster-randomised controlled trial. SETTING: 48 health facilities in Siaya County, Kenya were randomised. The trial ran from May 2017 to December 2019. PARTICIPANTS: 2922 women were recruited to the control and 2522 to the intervention arm. INTERVENTIONS: An electronic system recorded attendance and triggered payments to the participant's mobile for the intervention arm (US$4.5), and phone credit for the control arm (US$0.5). Eligibility criteria were resident in the catchment area and access to a mobile phone. PRIMARY OUTCOMES: Primary outcomes were any ANC, delivery, any PNC between 4 and 12 months after delivery, childhood immunisation and referral attendance to other facilities for ANC or PNC. Given problems with the electronic system, primary outcomes were obtained from maternal clinic books if participants brought them to data extraction meetings (1257 (50%) of intervention and 1053 (36%) control arm participants). Attendance at referrals to other facilities is not reported because of limited data. RESULTS: We found a significantly higher proportion of appointments attended for ANC (67% vs 60%, adjusted OR (aOR) 1.90; 95% CI 1.36 to 2.66) and child immunisation (88% vs 85%; aOR 1.74; 95% CI 1.10 to 2.77) in intervention than control arm. No intervention effect was seen considering delivery at the facility (90% vs 92%; aOR 0.58; 95% CI 0.25 to 1.33) and any PNC attendance (82% vs 81%; aOR 1.25; 95% CI 0.74 to 2.10) separately. The pooled OR across all attendance types was 1.64 (1.28 to 2.10). CONCLUSIONS: Demand-side financing incentives, such as CCTs, can improve attendance for appointments. However, attention needs to be paid to the technology, the barriers that remain for delivery at facility and PNC visits and encouraging women to attend ANC visits within the recommended WHO timeframe. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NCT03021070.
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