Informed decisions for actions in maternal and newborn health

Why is IDEAS important?

Why is IDEAS important?

Mother with newborn, Uttar Pradesh, India. © Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Every day 800 women die from pregnancy-related causes and more than 7,300 babies are delivered stillborn. Newborn deaths contribute to 40% of all child deaths globally. Many of these deaths occur in low-income settings, from well understood and preventable causes.

Stronger body of evidence to influence policy and practice

Despite huge efforts and advances – the number of maternal deaths due to pregnancy complications dropped by early 50% between 1990 and 2010 – the evidence base for what works to improve maternal and newborn health on a large scale remains relatively weak. IDEAS will create a stronger body of evidence to help inform policy and practice.

Capacity building for measurement, learning and evaluation

IDEAS offers a Technical Resource Centre to our in-country project partners that aims to enhance capacity in measurement, learning and evaluation. IDEAS is unusual in supporting capacity building for these areas. IDEAS aims to promote the importance of robust and well focused studies which generate high quality evidence on which policy can be based.

Large scale overview and new research methods

IDEAS will be using novel research methods to look at maternal and newborn health across large areas of Ethiopia, North-Eastern Nigeria and Uttar Pradesh in India. One particular strength is the ability to compare and contrast evidence across multiple projects and countries and the opportunity to investigate how and why innovations are scaled up.

How IDEAS will contribute to research

We contribute to the evidence base by:

  • Using standardised approaches to evaluate maternal and newborn health programmes across multiple projects and countries.
  • Studying the scale-up of innovations in maternal and newborn health.
  • Testing the theory underlying the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation maternal and newborn health strategy.
  • Strengthening capacity in measurement, learning and evaluation.

How IDEAS will help policy makers

We offer local, national and global health decision-makers and programme managers:

  • Evidence of which maternal and newborn health innovations work best in specific contexts and why.
  • Evidence of which innovations are likely to be scaled-up successfully from the areas in which they were introduced to a larger geographic area.
  • Lessons about using health data in decision-making to improve maternal and newborn health.