In 2015 and 2016, BIT worked with the president’s office in Mexico on a large trial aimed at improving maternal health. The project was implemented with Prospera, Mexico’s world-famous cash-transfer programme, which provides conditional financial incentives for families.
Women who received the cash transfers and became pregnant were encouraged to use a new two-way SMS system (i.e. where both parties could send messages) called Prospera Digital – one of the first of its kind in the world. Instead of straightforward government health advice, the women were given the chance to interact and influence the advice they received, create personalised appointment reminders and plan for emergencies as well as the delivery of their child. The programme was implemented across five states in Mexico.
The provisional results of this trial are promising, indicating that the babies born to the women in the programme had improved health and weight. We will continue to analyse the data and should be ready to publish the trial’s findings in January 2021, including rich and interesting qualitative results.