Philippines Case Study: Cash Assistance to Access Sexual and Reproductive Health Services and Reduce Maternal Deaths
As part of the humanitarian response to large displacements due to internal conflict in the Lanao del Sur province, in 2019 and 2020, UNFPA Philippines piloted the provision of cash assistance as an incentive for pregnant women to access SRH services. Against the backdrop of exacerbated poverty due to displacement, strong cultural birth practices, and the COVID-19 pandemic, UNFPA encouraged pregnant women to access antenatal care, facility-based delivery and post-natal care through a cash incentive and by having each pregnant woman partner with a traditional birth attendant throughout the program. The findings of this pilot project show that there was an increase in women attending a first antenatal care visit from 31 percent to 96 percent and a first post-natal care visit from 38 percent to 87 percent, compared to the proportion of women using these services prior to the introduction of the cash assistance in the programme. UNFPA continues to provide cash for pregnant women to access SRH in the Philippines, including in response to the recent humanitarian emergencies.