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Intervention coverage—the proportion of the population with a health-care need who receive care—does not account for quality and potentially overestimates health benefits of services provided to populations. Effective coverage introduces the dimension of quality of care to the measurement of intervention coverage.

This paper published in The Lancet Global Health and authored by members of the Effective Coverage Think Tank Group, lays out recommendations for standardising the definition, measurement approaches and indicators for effective coverage in maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health and nutrition. It is the result of a series of consultations and points to future effective coverage research priorities.

Authors agree that to measure effective coverage data sources must be defined and data methods standardised. This will ensure that we better understand quality dimensions and that effective coverage frameworks are actionable and respond to needs of decision makers. This is of vital importance at all times and especially now in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak when the availability and quality of MNCH services globally have been negatively impacted and traditional monitoring and evaluation measures may underestimate this impact.

The Effective Coverage Think Tank Group recommended that effective coverage be defined as the proportion of a population in need of a service that resulted in a positive health outcome from the service. The proposed effective coverage measures and care cascade steps can be applied to further develop effective coverage measures across a broad range of MNCAHN services. Furthermore, advances in measurement of effective coverage could improve monitoring efforts towards the achievement of universal health coverage.


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Professor Tanya Marchant

IDEAS Principal Investigator and Professor

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Professor Joanna Schellenberg

IDEAS Co-Principal Investigator and Professor