World’s First Health Development Impact Bond Strives to Improve Maternal Health in India

Jan 16, 2018

Mother and children in IndiaDevelopment impact bonds are unique public-private partnerships. They draw on an innovative financing mechanism to improve social welfare by repaying the investors who provide the bonds’ initial working capital, based on the results of the investments.

Several organizations, including Merck for Mothers, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the UBS Optimus Foundation, and Palladium, have partnered to deploy the world’s first health development impact bond, known as the Utkrisht Impact Bond. This partnership was developed to improve the quality of maternal care in Rajasthan, India, by helping up to 440 private health providers enhance their services, meet new government quality standards, and adhere to these standards over time. In particular, the partners seek to increase the number of private facilities that meet accreditation standards for safe delivery.

Mathematica Policy Research will contribute to this work as an independent assessor to verify the facilities’ adherence to the different requirements. In this role, Mathematica will work with stakeholders to develop and implement a plan to sample a subset of facilities in order to verify outcomes; monitor data from sampled facilities; and develop internal reports to summarize progress, lessons learned, and areas for improvement.

Although India has seen a major drop in maternal and newborn mortality over the past two decades, rates are still high, especially in parts of northern India. In Rajasthan, private-sector facilities are the main source of health care for more than two-thirds of households, and more than 25 percent of all deliveries outside the home occur at these facilities. By developing new approaches to improve, assess, and sustain private health care facilities, the Utkrisht Impact Bond will support greater statewide improvements in health. It could reach up to 600,000 pregnant women with improved delivery-related care and save as many as 10,000 women and newborns over five years.

Learn more about the Utkrisht Impact Bond and the study here.