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Better maternal health needs more than just money

Juan Carlos Rivillas
Research Awards

“Health problems are about more than money,” says 2016 IDRC Research Award recipient Juan Carlos Rivillas. “If we want to achieve universal health coverage by 2030 — one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals — we need to take action on quality of care and inequalities in the use of health services. These are a cause of poor maternal health outcomes worldwide.”

This was Rivillas’ conclusion after his study of the relationship between maternal and infant mortality, health financing, and health system issues in his home country of Colombia. “Beyond financing, the quality of services is crucial in improving maternal and infant health,” he says.

Carrying out research and working at IDRC, “opened my mind about the importance of research for development and global strategies,” he says.

It also expanded his skills. “Most of my research experience had been using quantitative analysis,” he says. “At IDRC, I learned to develop and to implement qualitative research, and to combine both methods. I was interpreting my results when I suddenly realized I understood the problems and potential solutions more easily when I mixed methods.”

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