The Countdown regional initiative for West and Central Africa aims to strengthen evidence in support of reproductive, maternal, newborn, child, and adolescent health (RMNCAH) programs through multi-country studies, to enhance the capacity of country and regional institutions to conduct relevant analyses, and to communicate the findings to policy makers to compel action and increased investment. Countdown to 2030 is a partnership to accelerate the momentum for ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths and help catalyze efforts to achieve the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. In addition to Countdown to 2030, the regional initiative partners are WAHO, UNICEF, WHO, UNFPA, and APHRC.
The Regional Initiative partners, together with the West African Health Organization (WAHO), hosted the first of two workshops in Saly, Senegal on March 26-30, 2018. The goal of the first workshop was to strengthen participants’ analytical skills using RMNCAH data. The analyses focused on coverage and equity at subnational and national levels, based on recent DHS and MICS datasets for each country. Further, the workshop built participants’ capacity to interpret evidence and inform policy and decision-making. All fifteen West African countries participated in the workshop, together with five countries from Central Africa, totaling 36 participants from Ministries of Health, public health institutions, and academia.
The workshop was co-led by representatives from the partnering organizations. APHRC’s Cheikh Faye, Ravi Ram, Estelle Sidze, and Martin Kavao led portions of the workshop and supported country analysis teams.
Throughout the week-long workshop, participants carried out analyses of selected coverage indicators for maternal and child health, and explored health facility data using their country’s Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) data. They also contextualized the interpretation of the results by linking low coverage data to gaps in specific health services or program weaknesses. Participants also gained experience using tools such as StatCompiler which allows users to make customized tables based on thousands of demographic and health indicators and HeatPlus Health Equity Assessment Toolkit which enables users to explore inequality changes over time and to compare the situation across settings (for example, between states, counties, or provinces).
A majority of participants rated the policy relevance of the workshop as high or very high.
In the months leading up to the August workshop, participants will compile health system and facility data for their respective countries towards developing subnational profiles and contributing to a regional report on equity in health intervention coverage.
Read the full workshop report here.