Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA)

Project Period

July 2019 - June 2020

Project Partners

  • International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
  • Partners in Population and Development (PPD)
  • East Central and Southern Africa Health Community

The Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) initiative seeks to improve maternal, newborn, and child health outcomes by strengthening health systems, using primary healthcare as an entry point.

Nineteen Implementation Research Teams (IRTs), composed of leading African and Canadian researchers and health policymakers, are developing practical solutions to improve support for women and children directly in their communities and in the hospitals, clinics, and other facilities that serve them. In addition, the teams are studying the policy environment and human resources needed for strong and equitable health systems. They are exploring how innovative interventions can be implemented and scaled up to improve health equity for women and children.

The Goal

The IMCHA program is supporting implementation research, and the use of evidence to:

  • address critical knowledge gaps in policy and practice around delivering primary health care;
  • generate tangible solutions that can be effectively scaled-up to achieve better health outcomes and equity;
  • strengthen the uptake of MNCH results into policy and practice.

Our role

Two Health Policy Research Organizations are working with the IRTs in East and West Africa. These organizations are facilitating mutual learning among researchers and policymakers and working to strengthen individual and institutional capacities for research. The ultimate goal of this unique model is to complement the teams’ efforts to integrate the evidence they generate into policies and practices to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the targeted countries.

The Eastern African Health Policy Research Organization (EA-HPRO) is working with 13 research teams in Ethiopia (2); Malawi (2); Mozambique (1); South Sudan (1); Tanzania (6) and Uganda (1) to translate findings from research interventions into policy recommendations.

The EA-HPRO provides capacity strengthening in strategic communications and policy engagement; facilitates linkages with national maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) stakeholder networks; synthesizes evidence on MNCH issues; research support; participates in regional evidence uptake and agenda-setting forums; and catalyzes sustained engagement among the research teams and their national decision-making bodies.

Our partners

APHRC leads a three-member consortium seeking to translate research evidence into policy that will help bring down the high rates of maternal and child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.

The three institutions that comprise EA-HPRO are leaders in using evidence to champion policy change. The East, Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC), based in Arusha, Tanzania, is an intergovernmental regional organization that provides a regional platform for consensus building on health priorities and to foster and promote regional cooperation in health.

Partners in Population and Development Africa Regional Office (PPD–ARO), based in Kampala, Uganda, supports the promotion and mobilization of resources for sexual and reproductive health and population and development in Africa through policy and funding advocacy; accountability for sexual reproductive health and rights commitments; networking and strategic southern partnerships; and South-South best practice transfer.


Program period

Start date: 2014

End date: June 2020

Funding: CA$2.6 million