Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant awarded for Nigeria study
20 October 2021
Associate Professor in Economics, Christine Valente, has been awarded a US$1.9 Million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The grant is to fund work in Nigeria to further an ongoing research agenda on Subjective Expectations and Demand for Contraception.
Despite longstanding efforts to improve both the supply of modern contraceptives and knowledge about them in developing countries, contraceptive use remains low. Representative surveys of women in Sub-Saharan Africa indicate that, ideally, they would typically like to have five or six children, so it is not surprising that many women in this region do not use contraceptives. What is concerning is that, in these same surveys, nearly one in four married women of reproductive age both reports that she does not want to have a child in the coming two years and is not using contraception.
Many factors can contribute to the large gap between fertility intentions and contraceptive use. Together with Grant Miller (Stanford) and Aureo de Paula (UCL), Christine Valente will partner with Nigerian colleauges to collect detailed data on what women and their partners believe would be the consequences of choosing each possible course of action (using no method, or using the pill, or using condoms, etc…). Modelling demand for contraception using these data will allow the research team to quantify the role of each factor and help prioritise policy interventions.
Findings from previous research by the same research team in Mozambique show that some effective interventions may be inexpensive to implement, and simply require women to be informed about the average risk of pregnancy absent contraception.
Dr Christine Valente said: “The UK government has been a leading contributor to international family planning programmes. It is now set to reduce its aid to the UN Family Planning programme by 85%. A deep understanding of demand for contraception therefore seems more important than ever to optimise policy making in the area.”