During the first phase it had become clear that programmes for maternal and newborn health did not have the data they needed to track progress in the delivery of high quality health care; that programme managers needed to be more agile in their use of data for decision-making to achieve the best quality of care from the health system; that innovations launched with donor funding were difficult to sustain; and that there was insufficient evidence about the mechanisms through which quality improvement interventions operated in different settings.
And so, six independent areas of research were developed by our multi-disciplinary team, with close attention paid to learning from one another and to learning with country partners.
Areas of research
What gets measured gets done. In Gombe State, northeast Nigeria, the presence of multiple Bill & Melinda Gates foundation investments presented an opportunity to track progress across diverse activities so that the health system as a whole could be strengthened.
Improved methods for measuring the quality of facility-based care, including methods for linking data sources, were needed. The Partnership in Gombe State, Nigeria, presented an opportunity to dig deep into this topic.
Better data is essential to improve health outcomes, yet even where rich data sources are available there can be limited capacity to synthesise and use the data for decision-making.
Evidence on how and why quality improvement strategies work was limited, including how country context affects implementation and the mechanisms through which QI operates.
The sustainability of health programmes is critical, but effective interventions may only last as long as donor funding is available.
Community-Based Newborn Care (CBNC) is a national Ethiopian initiative launched in 2013 as a means of bringing life-saving care to mothers and newborns at the community level within the Ethiopian health system. IDEAS and partners evaluated the programme over five years.