Strengthening ANC and PNC Service Delivery and Innovations: Request for Concept Note [Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation]

Timeline: 10 June 2019 (Concept Note Due)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) strategy aims to expand coverage of packages of interventions that are tailored to vulnerable populations to reduce preventable maternal and neonatal deaths. One of our priority focus areas is antenatal and postnatal care (ANC and PNC) platforms – both strengthening their foundations in order to meet current and future WHO guidelines, but also innovating both the platforms and the services offered on the platforms to further improve service delivery and quality of care. In fact, there are multiple innovations already in the pipeline (additional information provided below), including many being developed by partners within the foundation such as MNCH Discovery & Tools, Family Planning, Malaria, Immunization and Nutrition. While our program partners develop and test these innovations for clinical efficacy and effectiveness in controlled settings, there is a need for implementation research in more generalizable settings to adapt ANC and PNC innovations and understand pathways to scale. This proposed investment will be an important component of our strategy to 1) strengthen basic ANC PNC service delivery, 2) expand ANC and PNC service utilization, 3) assess efficacy of new interventions for ANC PNC, and 4) manage a program for implementation research that will validate and refine ANC/PNC innovations to inform the pathway to scale.


Countries are increasingly recognizing the importance of quality antenatal and postnatal (including maternal, newborn and infant) care services. Increasing percentages of women are attending ANC across LMICs, reaching a global level of around 60% attending at least four ANC visits as of 2016. However, the coverage rate is much lower among more vulnerable populations, and the quality of care that women receive is inconsistent, often poor, and fails to detect disease in a timely fashion or prepare women for the birth process. Coverage rates and quality of postnatal care are even poorer. The vision for improved ANC and PNC services is a healthcare system where women 1) start ANC earlier in their pregnancy, 2) receive at least the nationally recommended number of contacts for ANC with continuity through to PNC, and 3) receive quality care in those ANC and PNC visits, in 4) a system where additional care can be provided should complications arise and planning future reproductive intentions can be addressed.

We anticipate the grantee will conduct implementation research with the goal of improving ANC and PNC service delivery and related health outcomes, and will learn and share how the selected innovations achieved these outcomes. We seek partners who can help us strategize and execute a multi-country implementation research agenda to improve service delivery that will answer the following question (in collaboration with host governments): How can supply and demand-side innovations spur increased a) early initiation of ANC, b) continuity of ANC and PNC visits, c) quality of care and d) a system more responsive to women’s needs?


Funding Criteria

We will consider funding for organizations that have the necessary expertise and can deliver high quality, timely results and work in a collaborative way with our team and partners. Private, NGO, government, and academic organizations are all eligible for funding.

Partnerships/consortiums among organizations are preferred, recognizing the many different skill sets required; implementation research expertise is essential, and as part of the implementation research, we expect the grantee to be experienced in advocacy, human-centered and behavior design, cost and cost effectiveness analysis, and gender intentionality*). However, one organization should be specified as the lead which may then subcontract elements of work.

* Gender-intentional interventions are those that are designed to reduce gender gaps in access to resources. Activities address how people experience the problem differently because of their gender.

Exclusion Criteria

We will not consider funding for only portions of this work. I.e., ability to deliver on all of the above outcomes under the approach described is essential.


May 6, 2019: Concept note request announced

May 21, 2019 (11am PST): Q&A webinar with interested parties

May 24, 2019: Deadline for clarifying questions

June 10, 2019: Deadline for submitting concept notes

June 17-21, 2019: Phone calls with concept note finalists

July 12, 2019: Proposal(s) requested

August 1, 2019: Proposal(s) due

August 30, 2019: Final proposal selected

The foundation will host a Q&A webinar on Tuesday, May 21st at 11:00 a.m. (PST). Please check back on this page for details on how to join the webinar (details will be posted prior to the call).

How to Apply

To apply, please submit a concept note that includes the attachments listed below. Other attachments will not be reviewed.

Concept note narrative describing the proposed project (up to 5 pages total) covering 1) your understanding of the problem, 2) the approach you would take, and 3) how your consortium/partnership is well-positioned to support this scope of work

Budget for the proposed activities (rough estimate with major line items and milestones)

Biographical information or resume for project staff

Submit your response via the online application and upload your completed concept note in order for the foundation to process your request. Please do not mail a duplicate hard copy after submitting your concept note online.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who can participate? See eligibility section above.

When are responses due? Concept notes are due on June 10, 2019 11:59PM PST.

Will I receive any compensation for submitting? You will not receive any compensation for your submission even if it is used by the foundation or third parties in any way.

What will the foundation do with my submission? The foundation will review all submissions. We may also share your submission, or ideas contained within it, with the public or partners to ensure that good ideas and new innovations are broadly disseminated and available for use. With this in mind, please ensure that any materials you provide under this solicitation are your own, and understand that the foundation and others will have a right to use your submission freely, upon delivery, for noncommercial purposes.

What is the estimated budget envelope? USD $15-18 million.

More Information

For more information about this RFP, please review the RFP Guidelines. For any other questions, contact

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