Our Programmes



Sign up to our newsletter.

Follow ODI

Safer motherhood for all: innovative social protection mechanisms and their contribution to MDG5 and beyond

Time (GMT +00) 11:30 13:00


William Day - Chairman of Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP), a Senior Associate of the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry and Sustainability Advisor to PwC and Trustee of the ODI

Oona Campbell - Professor of Epidemiology and Reproductive Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Leo Bryant - Policy Advisor, Marie Stopes
Nicola Jones - Research Fellow, Overseas Development Institute

Maxine Molyneux


Quality maternal health care is a fundamental right for all women. Its links to child survival and development, to health care strengthening and environmental sustainability make it imperative for broader development goals, including the achievement of the millennium development goals (MDGS). And yet, every year between 350,000 and 500,000 women die through pregnancy and childbirth. Furthermore, nearly all of these deaths – 99% – are in developing countries, with the vast majority in sub Saharan Africa.

Social protection approaches, in particular (conditional) cash transfer programmes (CCTs) are a popular tool used to improve health and educational outcomes for children across the developing world, and are increasingly being piloted to address safe motherhood elements, all with context-variable results and mixed levels of success.

Opinions abound as to the effectiveness of cash transfers (CCTs) and the extent to which they represent a ‘magic bullet’, and certainly their capacity for long-term social transformation is rightly up for discussion. Nevertheless, empirical evidence reveals that cash transfers (CCTs) do have positive impacts and the potential for achieving significant gains in maternal health should not be under-estimated. 

To mark International Women’s Day, ODI is hosting a panel discussion, bringing together a selection of leading scholars and practitioners to focus on those social protection innovations increasingly being employed by the development community to tackle maternal ill-health, and to discuss what needs to be done to take such interventions to scale.

This is a critical time for continuing and evolving discussions around this topic in terms of setting a post 2015 agenda, and represents an opportunity to actively participate in what will be a lively event.