A new study, published this month in Health Economics, attempts to shed some light on this question by evaluating the impact the rollout of a SM program in China during the early 2000s. The program was targeted to some of the counties with the highest levels of MMR as well as those with the greatest capacity to implement the program. Unlike other attempts to reduce MMR through the SM approach, the Chinese program appears to have really focused on getting women into hospitals to give birth. I don’t know much about the Chinese context, but my guess is that access to family planning was already very high – given what I know about Chinese fertility rates. This is a much more aggressive strategy than has been adopted in most developing countries, where the focus has been on “supervised deliveries” whether institutional or not. Therefore, we may not be able to generalize these results too broadly and we may wish to question the belief that ensuring that a birth is supervised is enough.