The BORN Study: Better Obstetrics in Rural Nigeria

Nigerian midwife

photo by DFID - UK Department for
International Development/

Maternal and infant mortality is an enormous problem in Nigeria, Africa's most populous country. More than 250,000 infants die in Nigeria each year, and the country accounts for almost 15 percent of maternal deaths across the globe.

Rural areas are especially at risk. Recent figures suggest that about one out of every 120 births in rural Nigeria results in maternal death, compared to about one out of every 285 births in urban areas.

In response to this troubling issue, the Nigerian government created the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS). The MSS set an ambitious goal to double the proportion of deliveries attended to by skilled birth attendants and to lower maternal and infant mortality in target areas by 60 percent by December 2015.

After it had been operational for a few years, RAND's BORN Study examined what impact the MSS had on:

  • access to emergency obstetric care
  • use of skilled birth attendants
  • maternal and child health.

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