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Back in 2010, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle approached the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine with a request to support the measurement, learning and evaluation of their new maternal and child health strategy. The IDEAS project was developed to respond to that request and started its first phase of research, working closely with collaborators in northeast Nigeria, Ethiopia, and India to improve understanding of “what works, why and how” for maternal and newborn health.

In 2016, the IDEAS project entered a second phase of work, building on lessons learned from phase one. Five key research themes were identified:

1. Research to track progress in maternal and newborn health in a setting where multiple actors formed a partnership to address health system building blocks, aiming to understand how demand and supply side actions worked together to improve outcomes.

2. Research to improve the measurement of priority indicators for maternal and newborn health, aiming to address the challenges in measuring some of the actions that save maternal and newborn lives, which make it difficult to track progress.

3. Research to understand how to foster innovation sustainability, aiming to address the problem that effective interventions often last only as long as
donor funding is available.

4. Research on how best to support local decision-making, aiming to address the problem of limited capacity to synthesise and use data for decision-making.

5. Research on understanding quality improvement, aiming to generate new evidence that explains the mechanisms through which quality improvement
in the health sector operates. This report outlines this body of work and highlights key findings.

We hope you enjoy reading it.


Profile picture of Professor Tanya Marchant
Professor Tanya Marchant

IDEAS Principal Investigator and Professor

Profile picture of Professor Joanna Schellenberg
Professor Joanna Schellenberg

IDEAS Co-Principal Investigator and Professor

Profile picture of Noreen Seyerl
Noreen Seyerl

IDEAS Communications Officer

Profile picture of Dr Nasir Umar
Dr Nasir Umar

IDEAS Nigeria Country Coordinator and Assistant Professor

Profile picture of Josephine Exley
Josephine Exley

Research Fellow

Profile picture of Dr Bilal Avan
Dr Bilal Avan

Associate Professor

Profile picture of Dr Neil Spicer
Dr Neil Spicer

Associate Professor