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Research projects will examine the effects of development assistance on sexual and reproductive health and rights

Jesper Sundewall och Björn Ekman. Photo: Tove Gilvad and Li Fernstedt
Jesper Sundewall and Björn Ekman. Photo: Tove Gilvad and Li Fernstedt

Hello there, Björn Ekman and Jesper Sundewall! You’re both researchers in social medicine and global health at Lund University, and now you’ve been granted SEK 600,000 from the Expert Group for Aid Studies to study the effects of global health development aid. What are you going to do within the context of your research project?

– We will analyse global development assistance in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) over the past 25 years and try to find connections between various associated outcome measures. For example, can we see that the development assistance has had a positive effect in terms of reducing maternal mortality? As a further part of the project, we’re investigating whether it is possible to identify specific factors that contribute to development assistance being more or less effective. For example, the degree of democracy in a country affects the effectiveness of development assistance aimed at improving SRHR, says Jesper Sundewall, a researcher in the fields of social medicine and global health at Lund University.

What does it mean for you to receive this grant?

–  It feels really great to get funding for this work, which we believe may be of direct relevance to Swedish development assistance. We believe that increased understanding of whether SRHR development assistance has an effect and, if so, under what specific conditions it can have the greatest effect, can simultaneously serve as a basis for determining how future assistance aimed at promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights is directed and implemented, says Björn Ekman, a researcher in the fields of social medicine and global health, who shares joint responsibility for the project with Jesper Sundewall.

–  The grant is also a recognition of the relevance of our research, and we plan to build on it with more applications over the course of 2022. The plan is to go further and apply for additional research grants that will allow us to expand our efforts to evaluate the effects of development assistance aimed at promoting health and sexual and reproductive health and rights, says Jesper Sundewall.

About the project

Björn Ekman and Jesper Sundewall’s research project will increase knowledge about the effects of development assistance aimed at promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, so-called SRHR. They are receiving SEK 600,000 from the Expert Group for Aid Studies (EBA), a government committee that analyses and evaluates Swedish international development assistance so that it can be improved and developed. 

The title of the research project is “The Role of Development Assistance in improving Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Low-Income Countries: A Cross-Country Analysis of Context and Policy Factors”.