An aid watchdog has slammed the government for exaggerating the number of women’s lives it saved with taxpayers’ money spent on its maternal health initiatives.
A review, published by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (Icai) Tuesday, also implied a wasteful use of cash, arguing the number of lives saved “were significantly below what they could have been, given the level of investment”.
The efforts of Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) to improve maternal health in foreign nations “is yet to make a significant difference to the quality and sustainability of these services”, the document adds.
Methods for calculating the number of lives saved was based on assumptions that were “not realistic”, it explained.
The vast majority of the deaths the department claimed to have saved with taxpayer cash was apparently the result of giving women contraception so they had fewer children.
DfID assumed that stopping women getting pregnant would result in them being saved from dying in childbirth.
They spent about £4.6 billion on programmes in health and other sectors between 2011 and 2015 – with £1.3 billion on maternal health, including “family planning”, reproductive health care, and maternal and neonatal health.
— DFID (@DFID_UK) September 13, 2016
By 2015, DfID was publicly claiming to have saved 103,000 women’s lives during pregnancy and childbirth, more than double its goal of 50,000. However, this figure was revised down to 80,100 in an internal and unpublished review.
In Malawi, for example, Britain claimed to have saved 10,100 lives in four years — but United Nations figures show the nation’s maternal mortality rate has remained the same.
“We were unable to confirm DfID’s global results claim on saving maternal lives, owing to shortcomings in the way it estimated the impacts of its programmes,” the review explains.
DfID insisted the review was not representative of all the department’s work. A spokesman told Breitbart London in a statement:
“We welcome Icai’s acknowledgement that UK aid is helping women around the world access the life-saving services they need.”
They add, however, that “it is disappointing the report has made some generalisations from a selected portion of our programming and also does not fully reflect the full impact of our work, especially in recent years”.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 3, 2018