The Efficacy of Interventions to Reduce Adolescent Childbearing in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review



This study reviews the scope and quality of existing literature regarding the interventions to reduce adolescent childbearing in low- and middle-income countries and compiles findings concerning their effectiveness. A total of 737 studies published between 2000 and 2011 were reviewed; 19 were identified as meeting eligibility criteria. Studies were included that: evaluated program effects on adolescents and young people, either as the primary target population or as a subset of a broader target group; evaluated an intervention intended to reduce adolescent fertility or generate improvements on a related outcome; and reported childbearing-related outcomes. Evidence indicates that a variety of interventions may be successful at reducing fertility, including school-based programs, health counseling, and cash transfers. An overview of evaluation efforts to date is provided, and potential best practices are highlighted. Conclusions are that funding for adolescent fertility initiatives should be directed toward programs for which a sound evidence base exists, such as cash transfers or other interventions that encourage school enrollment, and that programs of unknown effectiveness should be conducted in tandem with rigorous evaluation.