IDEAS is a measurement, learning and evaluation project based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The project aims to find out “what works, why, and how” for maternal and newborn health in three low-resource settings in Nigeria, India, and Ethiopia. The IDEAS team includes 20 research and professional support staff, living in Abuja, Addis Ababa, London, and New Delhi, who have been working since 2010 with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and with the foundation’s implementation partners.


Back in 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle developed a new strategy for the coming years, outlining how they might achieve their long term aim of fewer maternal and child deaths in Nigeria, Ethiopia and the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. They chose to focus on these settings for two reasons: firstly, the alarmingly high death rate among mothers and children, largely due to preventable causes, and secondly, the very high numbers of mothers and children. Uttar Pradesh, for example, has over 200 million people, making it comparable to Brazil which is the fifth largest country in the world.


Respectful and equitable health services for women Copyright: iStock

Respectful and equitable health services for women Copyright: iStock


In 2010, the foundation 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 this request. Since 2010, the IDEAS team have worked closely with collaborators in north-east Nigeria, Ethiopia, and India
to improve understanding of “what works, why and how” in these settings for maternal and newborn health. This report outlines their approach, giving highlights of the work. We hope you enjoy reading it.

Professor Betty Kirkwood, Professor Sir Andy Haines,
Professor Dame Anne Mills, Professor Kara Hanson
and Professor Simon Cousens
IDEAS Strategic Management Group



Professor Joanna Schellenberg

IDEAS Co-Principal Investigator and Professor

Dr Tanya Marchant

IDEAS Principal Investigator and Associate Professor

Dr Bilal Avan

Associate Professor

Professor Elizabeth Allen

Professor in Medical Statistics

Emma Beaumont

Research Fellow in Medical Statistics

Dr Della Berhanu

Former IDEAS Ethiopia Country Coordinator and Research Fellow

Dr Meenakshi Gautham

IDEAS India Country Coordinator and Research Fellow

Dr Zelee Hill

Senior Lecturer

Anita Lyons

Assistant Project Manager

Kate Sabot

IDEAS Research Assistant and DrPH student 2013-2016

Dr Neil Spicer

Assistant Professor

Dr Nasir Umar

IDEAS Nigeria Country Coordinator and Research Fellow

Shirine Voller

IDEAS Project Manager (on secondment to KEMRI Wellcome Trust Research Programme 2016 - 2017)

Suzanne Welsh

Project Manager

Deepthi Wickremasinghe

Research Assistant

More info