Development projects designed to improve maternal and child welfare in Africa may incur unexpected costs associated with increases in family size if they do not include a component of family planning, according to new research from the University of Bristol into rural communities in Ethiopia.
The research, published today in Public Library of Science: Medicine, is the first study to demonstrate a link between a single technological development intervention (in this case, a tapped water supply) and an increase in both birth rate and childhood malnutrition.
Dr Mhairi Gibson of Bristol Universitys Department of Archaeology and Anthropology and Dr Ruth Mace of University College, London examined nearly 2,000 households in rural Ethiopia over a four year period during which a tapped water supply was introduced but family planning provisions were absent. They looked at the nutritional status of women and children (in terms of weight and height) and birth rates in villages where tapped water had been introduced and others where it had not.
Hannah Johnson | EurekAlert!
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