Improving coverage measurement for reproductive, maternal, neonatal and child health: gaps and opportunities

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Background

Regular monitoring of coverage for reproductive, maternal, neonatal, and child health (RMNCH) is central to assessing progress toward health goals. The objectives of this review were to describe the current state of coverage measurement for RMNCH, assess the extent to which current approaches to coverage measurement cover the spectrum of RMNCH interventions, and prioritize interventions for a novel approach to coverage measurement linking household surveys with provider assessments.

Methods

We included 58 interventions along the RMNCH continuum of care for which there is evidence of effectiveness against cause–specific mortality and stillbirth. We reviewed household surveys and provider assessments used in low– and middle–income countries (LMICs) to determine whether these tools generate measures of intervention coverage, readiness, or quality. For facility–based interventions, we assessed the feasibility of linking provider assessments to household surveys to provide estimates of intervention coverage.

Results

Fewer than half (24 of 58) of included RMNCH interventions are measured in standard household surveys. The periconceptional, antenatal, and intrapartum periods were poorly represented. All but one of the interventions not measured in household surveys are facility–based, and 13 of these would be highly feasible to measure by linking provider assessments to household surveys.

Conclusions

We found important gaps in coverage measurement for proven RMNCH interventions, particularly around the time of birth. Based on our findings, we propose three sets of actions to improve coverage measurement for RMNCH, focused on validation of coverage measures and development of new measurement approaches feasible for use at scale in LMICs.


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