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close this bookHDD-(PHN)FLASH, newsletter on Population, Health and Nutrition of the Worldbank Human Development Department (WB)
close this folderPHNFLASH 1993
close this folderPHNFLASH 2 December 6, 1993
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentWomen's Health: A Neglected Development Issue
View the documentWomen's Status and Women's Health
View the documentThe Effects of Women's Ill Health on the Family, Community and Economy
View the documentCost-Effective Interventions to Improve Women's Health
View the documentWomen's Health and Development: Priorities for Action

Cost-Effective Interventions to Improve Women's Health

Improvements in women's health are not only critical to development, they are feasible and affordable. Of the many health sector interventions discussed in the World Development Report, safe motherhood interventions were found to be among the most cost-effective. Safe motherhood interventions include family planning to raise age at first delivery, space births, and prevent unwanted pregnancy, tetanus toxoid immunization, micronutrient supplementation, and improved prenatal and delivery care.

Strategies to protect women from sexually transmitted diseases can also have a cost-effective impact. Biologically, women are more susceptible to STDs; the probability of transmission in a single contact of unprotected vaginal intercourse is greater from infected male to uninfected female than the reverse. Moreover, because the duration and severity of STDs (other than HIV) are greater in women than in men, preventing a single case of an STD in a woman is estimated to be 20 percent more effective than preventing a single case in a man. Preventing and curing STDs in women also helps to reduce prenatal transmission. The most cost-effective strategy is to combine information, education, and communication with condom subsidies and STD treatment targeted to core groups of males or females who engage in unsafe sex with multiple partners.

The evidence suggests that improving women's health is a sound investment. Women's health programs are not only feasible and cost-effective, but their broader benefits stretch far beyond the woman and have important effects on the household and community development.