Traditional birth attendant Magret Atieno assists Mary Wairimu into a position to give birth, during labor in the Korogocho neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya.
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In the past decade, billions of dollars have been spent trying to save the lives of mothers in developing countries using strategies -- usually inexpensive drugs -- deemed essential by the U.N. health agency.Yet two large analyses of maternal health programs- including one conducted by the U.N. itself -- report that the efforts appeared almost useless, raising troubling questions about why all that money was spent. At an international meeting of U.N. partners starting Monday in South Africa, health officials are getting ready to ask donors for even more money to pour into maternal health programs.The two papers published last year are the biggest to assess the effectiveness of maternal health strategies, although smaller studies have previously suggested the methods help.
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