USAID has been supporting projects in the Madagascar provinces of Fianarantsoa and Antananarivo with specific, community-level interventions since 1997. In 2004, MEASURE DHS studied the results of these programs and found dramatic improvements related to maternal and child health, including: medical assistance for mothers before, during, and after the birth of their children; percentage of children born within intervals of at least 36 months; full vaccination coverage for children; exclusive breastfeeding practices; distribution of vitamin A capsules; and use of homemade oral rehydration therapy to treat diarrhea. Use of modern family planning methods in the intervention zone also increased, causing a decline in fertility and along with it, an important reduction in teenage pregnancy.
This study also found areas for improvement in: high levels of child malnutrition (stunting still affects about half of the children in the intervention zone); low iron intake, (still very low among pregnant women); relatively high fertility rates (women age 15-49 in Fianarantsoa have an average of 6.6 children); and unequal access to education between(9 percent of women living in rural areas have never attended school, compared to those living in urban areas).
English and French Key Findings version will be available soon.