Reducing maternal and infant mortality in Guinea-Bissau

Project Info

Principal Investigators

Alexander Coutts (Schulich School of Business)
Teresa Molina-Millán (University of Alicante)
Brais Alvarez Pereira (Nova SBE)
Pedro Vicente (Nova SBE)


Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN)
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)



About this Project

Preventable maternal and child mortality remains a global problem, with the highest rates found in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Guinea-Bissau is no exception, exceeding the regional average with 549 maternal deaths (per 100,000) and 93 under 5 deaths (per 1,000 live births) [UNICEF, 2015]. This project seeks to reduce the number of these mostly preventable deaths through a novel community health campaign for rural areas, which incorporates traditional healers to address widespread traditional health beliefs and practices in an inclusive way.
With the aim of combating maternal and infant mortality, we will work directly with both modern health workers and traditional healers to 1) organize workshops which identify the best ways for them to work together to combat specific harmful beliefs in a respectful way, and 2) organize an informational campaign for them to bring these best practices to rural villages. By integrating traditional beliefs in health campaigns instead of ignoring or repudiating them, our intervention will make gradual but real progress in increasing health knowledge, shifting behavior towards the modern health sector, and reducing maternal and child deaths and morbidity.
We will evaluate this intervention using a rigorous randomized evaluation. After the impact evaluation is concluded, we will make the (anonymous) comprehensive survey on health knowledge and behaviors publicly available and we will develop plans for effectively scaling-up the program.

Contributing to SDGs: