The impact of national health promotion policy on stillbirth and maternal mortality in South Africa

17 Mar 2022

OBJECTIVES : In 2015, the South African government implemented the national health promotion policy (NHPP), intending to reduce stillbirth and maternal mortality. This study was designed to quantify the impact of the NHPP on stillbirth and maternal mortality in both the South African population and immigrant citizens. STUDY DESIGN : This was a panel analysis using secondary data issued by Statistic South Africa-Vital Statistics. METHODS : The author exploited the changes in smoking status that the NHPP exerted between 2015 and 2017. The author then builds credible control and treatment groups based on smoking status for both groups. Women who quitted smoking post-NHPP implementation were considered as the treatment group. Women who persisted with smoking post-NHPP implementation were classified as the control group. The author then used a Two-stage Least Squared Model to quantify the impact of the NHPP on stillbirth and maternal mortality in both the South African and immigrant populations. RESULTS : The model shows that NHPP averts stillbirths by 8.36% in the South African population residing in the urban areas and by 2.84% in the rural segments of the country. NHPP averts South African maternal mortalities by 20.88% in urban areas and by 15.60% in the rural segments of the country.Regarding the immigrant population, the model shows that NHPP averts immigrant's stillbirths by 7.61% in the urban areas and by 2.79% in the rural segments of the country. In addition, NHPP averts immigrant maternal mortalities by 19.22% in the urban areas and by 13.04% in the rural segments of the country. CONCLUSIONS : NHPP reduces stillbirth and maternal mortality outcomes slightly biased toward the South African population. These inequalities reflect immigrant's lack of response to the NHPP framework and inadequate access to the South African health system.