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Essays in Maternal Health and Human Rights: Evidence From Sub-Saharan Africa

  • 2009
  • Dissertation
Peterman, Amber

Publisher/Institution: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Abstract: This compilation of essays focuses on programs, policies and emerging issues which center on gender equity and women’s empowerment as broad themes within the larger realm of maternal health and human rights. The first essay explores effects of women’s property and inheritance rights on women’s long term economic welfare using a thirteen year panel from the Kagera region of Tanzania. The second essay examines contraceptive use and provision of family planning services and their effect on women’s economic welfare, again using data from Tanzania. The third essay is a cross-country study (Malawi, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Uganda) examining contributions of trauma due to sexual violence and female genital cutting to the burden of gynecological fistula. The geographic focus of all three essays is sub-Saharan Africa, because women in this region are some of the most impoverished in the world, both in terms of classic measures of poverty and on dimensions of human rights. Motivation for examination of these topics is in part due to a lack of empirical evidence from an economic development perspective. The majority of previous analyses have been framed in a legal or human rights perspective, or limited in geographic and methodological application because of data constraints. It is my hope that this research will indirectly benefit women and their families in sub-Saharan Africa through increased knowledge, awareness and policy change.

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