Troy Jacobs, Senior Medical Advisor in USAID’s Office of Maternal-Child Health and Nutrition
The new 2017 report from Countdown 2030 (CD2030) has interesting implications for health research in maternal and child health and nutrition. For one, I’m pleased that more data is available on key drivers of reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. The data is from 81 ‘priority’ countries which together account for 95% of maternal deaths and 90% of deaths among children under age five.
More data is now available in women’s health–including on modern method use for family planning and skilled birth attendants–and in infant health– including postnatal care for babies, diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis immunization, and exclusive breastfeeding.
The new data shows significant changes (improvement in some cases) in causes of maternal and child deaths; the nutritional status of women, children and adolescent girls; intervention coverage across the continuum of care; and inequalities in intervention coverage.
Critically, a number of these findings have direct implications for the implementation science research agenda forwarded by the Health Research Program (HRP). HRP can build on this new data and learning and support research to catalyze new practices.
For example, in 13 CD 2030 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa the median likelihood of women receiving critical interventions during antenatal visits was below 20%.
Improving the availability of such data would enhance targeted service delivery, and this more generalizable data could be understood by a wider audience. This coverage data could be used to inform resource allocation for various interventions that have a real impact on maternal and child health outcomes.
despite significant progress towards increasing coverage of RMNCH interventions. Available evidence shows that services are often of poor quality.
For example, only 43% of CD 2030 countries have a national plan for maternal, newborn and child health with a plan for resource allocation.As a result, interventions that are introduced are often not of high quality.
CD2030 is a network of international organizations conducting M&E and implementation research, developing the next generation of maternal and child health researchers. Its main goal is to track coverage levels for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health interventions (RMNCH); calling on governments and partners for more accountability; identifying knowledge gaps; and proposing new initiatives to achieve women and child health coverage.