Improving coverage measurement

Because of challenges in measurement, progress can often only be tracked through the use of proxy measures, which increase the risk of inappropriate decisions being made in maternal and newborn health. This issue affects stakeholders around the world, particularly women and children who might benefit from life-saving interventions.

Many health groups around the world have described the need to improve measurement for mothers and newborns. These include the Every Newborn Action Plan (ENAP), Ending Preventable Maternal Mortality (EPMM) and the Global Strategy for Women, Children and Adolescent’s Health 2016-2030.

IDEAS aims to improve the measurement of priority indicators for maternal and newborn health by testing the coverage estimates derived from multiple sources – including household interviews, service user exit interviews, last event interviews with health facility staff and review of facility records – against gold standard coverage estimates obtained by the observation of births.

We do this, for example, in Gombe State, Nigeria, when we use birth observations as gold standard measures of health worker behaviour to assess the validity of routine data recorded in healthcare registers, and of women’s reports during exit interview and at subsequent household follow-up. We also undertake qualitative research to better understand how women perceive respectful maternity care in Nigeria.

IDEAS team members collaborate closely with ENAP and EPMM metrics working groups to ensure that the learning is relevant to global and country based stakeholders.

Published content

Journal article
Measurement of delayed bathing and early initiation of breastfeeding: a cross-sectional survey exploring experiences of data collectors in Ethiopia

This paper recommends that the inclusion of standard probes or follow-on questions to the existing survey tools assessing delayed bathing and early initiation of breastfeeding. Data collectors also require further guidance in using appropriate probes to gather accurate maternal responses.