How Simple are Simple Solutions?

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The rhetoric surrounding international development and global health (definitely including maternal health) often refers to simple solutions, particularly low-cost simple solutions. Karen Grepin, a professor at NYU, challenges this rhetoric and argues that what may appear cheap and simple at first glance is often incredibly complex and not well understood:


After attending a report launch on child health, Grepin writes on her blog:

What I disagree with is the message among advocates of child health that the we already know what works and that “simple” interventions simply need to be implemented. If the solutions are so simple, why are they not adopted or implemented?…[M]any of these interventions are relatively inexpensive and straightforward, but in particular with regards to the behavior change components, I don’t think the solutions are so simple. I believe that we have not even begun to understand why these practices are so hard to put into practice. One prime example of this is breastfeeding.