Today, Tuesday 30 October, there has been newspaper coverage of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact’s (ICAI) report on DFID’s maternal health programmes.
The ICAI report states DFID estimated 103,000 women’s lives had been saved through our maternal health programmes between 2011 and 2015, but subsequent analysis meant this was revised to 80,100 lives as better data became available.
This is not the case. As soon as more information became available, the results estimates were revised and DFID provided these to ICAI.
Since 2010 the UK has led the way internationally on measuring the impact of aid. The point made in the ICAI report that DFID’s method of calculating lives saved was based on “unrealistic” assumptions is also unfounded.
DFID’s estimates were modelled using a tool that is considered “best-practice” globally.
While we welcome ICAI’s acknowledgement that UK aid is helping women around the world access the life-saving services they need, it is disappointing the report has made some generalisations from a selected portion of our programming, after visiting DFID programmes in just two of the countries where we operate.
For example, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo the team visited one of the hundreds of clinics our programme supports and one of the 52 hospitals. This does not fully reflect the full impact of our work globally.
DFID has been a strong champion for women’s rights around the world. As ICAI itself highlights, millions more women now have access to contraception as a result of UK aid. At the 2017 Family Planning Summit, DFID brought together 65 donors and organisations from across the world to agree a set of commitments, including to collect data on adolescent access to sexual and reproductive health programmes.
The commitments we secured will help us deliver ICAI’s recommendations.
Between the financial years 2011-12 and 2014-15 DFID spent over £4 billion on programmes that had a positive global impact on areas such as reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health.
Within this, £1.3 billion was focused more specifically on maternal health, including programmes on family planning, reproductive health care, and maternal and neonatal health.