In 1989, Indonesia began a program to expand access to midwives in villages. The program, which continues to this day, trained and placed 54,000 midwives in communities around the country by 1998. Researchers will evaluate the effects of the midwife program on educational attainment, cognitive abilities, employment, and life satisfaction of young adults who were children during the midwife program.
Shocks in utero or in early childhood may have profound effects later in life on health, education and overall socio-economic well-being. The impact can be greatest when droughts, flooding or other weather or disaster-related shocks make it impossible for pregnant women to get needed nutrition, or when very young children are similarly deprived. Programs to reduce the effect of shocks often focus on social safety nets that can help families afford food and other necessities, often through conditional cash transfers or public works programs. Less is known about the potential of regular and available public services – such as a health care center, or community midwife – to mitigate the effects of prenatal nutritional shocks. This evaluation will provide important evidence on the extent to which midwife programs can help countries meet development challenges by improving children’s development even during crises.
Research area: Early Childhood Nutrition, Development, and Health
Evaluation Sample: 3,192 people between the ages of 17 and 25
Timeline: 2012 - 2016
Intervention: Health care workers
Researchers: John Strauss, University of Southern California; John Giles, World Bank; Elan Satriawan, National Team for the Acceleration of Poverty, and Gadjah Mada University; Bondan Sikoki, SurveyMeter; Wayan Suriastini
Indonesia’s village midwife program, which trains and places midwives in rural communities around the country, stands out as an effort to bring health care to remote areas. Prior research found that this program, introduced in 1989,improved the nutritional status of young children and improved women’s health and pregnancy. The Government of Indonesia, which continues the program to this day, is eager to know whether the presence and activities of midwives can also have a positive influence on children later in life in terms of education and employment.