Why do so many women in the world still die before, during or after giving birth? One of the reasons, in short, is poverty and poverty-related factors such as poor access to healthcare services, unsanitary living conditions, illiteracy, social exclusion and food insecurity. Therefore, some countries have established cash transfer programmes to improve access to healthcare and reduce poverty—two key actions to reduce maternal mortality. “However, up to now it was not clear whether these programmes were effectively reducing maternal deaths,” explains Davide Rasella, who leads the Health Impact Assessment Group at ISGlobal. So, in collaboration with colleagues from Fiocruz in Brazil, his team used a state-of-the-art methodology to evaluate the impact of Brazil’s Bolsa Família programme over 11 years. The conditional cash transfer programme, one of the world’s largest, gives money to beneficiary families when certain conditions—such as scheduled medical visits—are met.