Routes to Better Health for Children in Four Developing Countries

Published in: The Milbank Quarterly, v. 84, no. 2, June 2006, p. 333-358

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2006

by Thomas Croghan, Amanda Beatty, Aviva Ron

Despite the availability of effective, affordable interventions for the most common causes of death, more than ten million children in developing countries die each year. This article describes the circumstances of four countries whose reductions in child mortality exceeded what might be expected from their poor economic circumstances, and it asks whether they followed common routes to improved health for children. The findings suggest that contextual factors, such as the degree of economic development, good governance, and strong health care systems, matter less than do targeted health intervention, foreign aid, and technical assistance. In general, these findings contradict prevailing U.S. foreign policy regarding the circumstances in which progress toward health goals can be made.

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