Setting Implementation Research Priorities to Reduce Preterm Births and Stillbirths at the Community Level

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  • Preterm birth complications are the leading cause of neonatal mortality, contributing 1 million deaths annually. Stillbirths account for another 3.2 million deaths. Both causes of perinatalmortality are inextricably linked to maternal health and to conditions at birth.

  • While some community-based interventions have proved effective in controlled settings and specific contexts, the implementation research challenge is to understand how to sustain these interventions at scale in different contexts.

  • A systematic process based on the Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative (CHNRI) methodology was used to score and rank implementation research questions regarding community-based maternal–newborn interventions that address prematurity and stillbirths in different contexts at scale.

  • Of the 55 research questions that were reviewed in this way, the top five addressed equity (e.g., reaching the poor and marginalized, reducing financial barriers), behavioral practices and skills (e.g., engaging with social norms, identifying prematurity), and quality of care provided by community health workers. The top 15 questions encompassed issues pertaining to behavioral interventions, community health workers, referral, and managing health systems.


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