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Matern Child Health J. 2013 May;17(4):581-5. doi: 10.1007/s10995-012-1042-7.

Behavioral economics: the key to closing the gap on maternal, newborn and child survival for Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5?

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Department of Family and Community Health, School of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 set ambitious targets to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality by 2015. With 2015 fast approaching, there has been a concerted effort in the global health community to "close the gap" on the MDG targets. Recent consensus initiatives and frameworks have refocused attention on evidence-based, low-cost interventions that can reduce mortality and morbidity, and have argued for additional funding to increase access to and coverage of these life-saving interventions. However, funding alone will not close the gap on MDGs 4 and 5. Even when high-quality, affordable products and services are readily available, uptake is often low. Progress will therefore require not just money, but also advances in health-related behavior change and decision-making. Behavioral economics offers one way to achieve real progress by improving our understanding of how individuals make choices under information and time constraints, and by offering new approaches to make it easier for individuals to do what is in their best interest and harder to do what is not. We introduce five behavioral economic principles and demonstrate how they could boost efforts to improve maternal, newborn, and child health in pursuit of MDGs 4 and 5.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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