Targeting Low Birthweight Interventions in Jamaica

by John Peabody, Paul Gertler

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To prevent infant mortality, many countries target programs for mothers who are likely to have low birthweight infants. Programs targeting high risk women have been associated with lower infant mortality and higher birthweights. In many countries, programs typically use clinical criteria risk factors such as maternal age and parity for targeting. It is not clear, however, if clinical risk factors are important risks or if they are just markers of socioeconomic determinants such as poverty or education. Using a population based survey, we show that both clinical and socioeconomic factors are important predictors of low birthweight in Jamaica. Our results suggest that women who are nulliparous, age 35 or older, poor, or living in certain areas should be targeted for clinical interventions to prevent low birthweight. In terms of the quality of care, this study links clinical and socioeconomic risk factors to poor outcomes. Further studies are needed to link the structure and process of care to these outcomes.

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