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Journal article

Improved measurement for mothers, newborns and children in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals

by Professor Tanya Marchant

published 1 June 2016


An urgent priority in maternal, newborn and child
health is to accelerate the scale–up of cost–effective essential interventions,
especially during labor, the immediate postnatal period and
for the treatment of serious infectious diseases and acute malnutrition.
Tracking intervention coverage is a key activity to support scale–
up and in this paper we examine priorities in coverage measurement,
distinguishing between essential interventions that can be measured
now and those that require methodological development.


We conceptualized a typology of indicators related to intervention
coverage that distinguishes access to care from receipt of an
intervention by the population in need. We then built on documented
evidence on coverage measurement to determine the status of indicators
for essential interventions and to identify areas for development.


Contact indicators from pregnancy to childhood were identified
as current indicators for immediate use, but indicators reflecting
the quality of care provided during these contacts need development.
At each contact point, some essential interventions can be
measured now, but the need for development of indicators predominates
around interventions at the time of birth and interventions to
treat infections. Addressing this need requires improvements in routine
facility based data capture, methods for linking provider and
community–based data, and improved guidance for effective coverage
measurement that reflects the provision of high–quality care.


Coverage indicators for some essential interventions can
be measured accurately through household surveys and be used to
track progress in maternal, newborn and child health. Other essential
interventions currently rely on contact indicators as proxies for
coverage but urgent attention is needed to identify new measurement
approaches that directly and reliably measure their effective coverage


Marchant, T; Bryce, J; Victora, C; Moran, A; Cleason, M; Requejo, J; Amouzou, A; Walker, N; Boerma, T; Grove, J; (2016) Improved measurement for mothers, newborns and children in the era of the Sustainable Development Goals. Journal of Global Health, Vol 6 No 1. 010506 – 010506. doi: 10.7189/jogh.06.010506



Profile picture of Professor Tanya Marchant
Professor Tanya Marchant

IDEAS Principal Investigator and Professor