Financial incentives and coverage of child health interventions

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Financial incentives may have potential to promote increased coverage of several important child health interventions, but the quality of evidence available is low. The more pronounced effects seem to be achieved by programs that directly removed user fees for access to health services. Some indication of effect was also observed for programs that conditioned financial incentives on participation in health education and attendance to health care visits. This finding suggest that the measured effect may be less a consequence of the financial incentive and more due to conditionalities addressing important informational barriers.

Financial incentives have been used in efforts to alleviate poverty, such incentives may also be beneficial in promoting the uptake of health interventions for children under five years of age. This review aimed to assess the effects of different financial incentive programs on the uptake and coverage of health interventions targeting children under the age of five years. Studies were assessed for quality using the CHERG criteria and meta-analysis was conducted. Results showed low quality evidence on the effect of financial incentives on breastfeeding practices, however, suggested a positive on receiving colostrum, early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and mean duration of exclusive breastfeeding. There was no effect of financial incentives on immunization coverage. Overall, evidence was not wholly conclusive, but suggested that financial incentives may have potential to promote increased coverage of several important child health interventions.

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