Helping national decision-makers, program managers, and funding partners achieve maximum impact with the funding available for the country's public health response and plan for sustainability.

During the period of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) there has been enormous progress in improving maternal and child health. The number of deaths in mothers and children younger than 5 years has approximately halved between 1990 and 2013, a reduction from 12.6 to 6.3 million for children aged younger than 5 years and from 523,000 to 289,000 in maternal deaths. Key factors contributing to this success included the promotion of women's and children's health facilitated through global partnerships, such as the Partnership on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) and the G8 Muskoka Initiative, which among other factors led to doubling of the donor funding for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) with the commitment of countries to achieve the MDGs by up-scaling essential evidence-based interventions formulated by the global research effort.

Despite these gains, more than 17,000 children still died every day in 2013, many due to preventable conditions and unreliable access to health services. The transition from the MDGs to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) maintains very high importance on reducing maternal and child mortality.

Aim of Optima Child Health

The overarching aim is to guide program developers to choose the best evidence-based interventions to reduce childhood mortality (and then also maternal mortality) in their country. Optima Child Health will help to answer the following types of questions.

Making sense of historical data

  • What are my country's trends in maternal and child mortality and how will these change under different funding scenarios?
  • What has been achieved in averting maternal and child mortality through past investments?

Planning and prioritizing new programs

  • For different funding levels (i.e. for a given resource envelope), how should resources be optimally allocated across the mix of possible interventions, their delivery modes and implementation options, to minimize maternal and child mortality?

Targeting areas of need

  • How can targeting national resources to sub-national regions and targetable population sub-groups improve outcomes?

Predicting outcomes

Predictions are to be provided to program managers on the potential impact of different decisions such as:

  • How much funding is required to achieve (a) national maternal and child mortality reduction targets; and (b) global SDG targets, and how is this funding best allocated across the range of programs or priority geographical regions?
  • What additional impact can be attained if implementation efficiency gains are achieved for specific services?
  • How does the optimal funding allocation strategy change if implementation efficiency gains can be achieved (at defined levels)?

Scope of Optima Child Health

Due to the very large number of causes of morbidity and mortality in infants, children and mothers, it is not feasible to cover all causes and the full extent of possible interventions in this analytic tool. Rather, it is important to focus on priority areas which are likely to have maximal impact. Optima Child Health will focus on primary causes of mortality and severe morbidity for children aged younger than 5 years and women of reproductive age.

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