Back in 2009, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle developed a new strategy for the coming years, outlining how they might achieve their longterm 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.
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.