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New PLOS Collection assesses the measurement of maternal/child health interventions

plos_05022013Measuring coverage of maternal, newborn, and child health in low- and middle-income countries is critical to ensuring that health interventions are reaching the women and children who need them most, says a new collection of articles published by PLOS this week. Accurate measurement of the effectiveness of those interventions for combatting diseases such as pneumonia and malaria, and preventing the transmission of HIV from mother to child, is also essential.

Measuring Coverage in Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health, a sponsored PLOS Collection published today in PLOS Medicine and PLOS ONE with support from the Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (CHERG), presents innovative assessments of the validity of measuring population coverage for interventions in this field. CHERG was established in 2001 and serves as an independent source of technical expertise to WHO and UNICEF on maternal and child morbidity and mortality estimates at global and country levels. PLOS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal published by the Public Library of Science, a non-profit committed to accelerating progress in science and medicine by providing free, open access to scholarly research.

The collection of original research articles and reviews shows that while some coverage indicators can be measured accurately, others may not provide valid results and therefore need further investigation and development. Coverage indicators are widely used to assess whether interventions are reaching women and children in low- and middle-income countries, particularly through population-based household surveys such as USAID’s Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and UNICEF’s Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS).

The collection explores issues around measurement using household surveys assessment of health inequalities, consideration of survey error, and the generation of indicators for global monitoring. It presents recommendations for transforming the findings of these and previous studies into better measurement, reporting, and interpretation of coverage estimates.

Associate Professor Thomas Eisele is lead author of two articles in the collection, including a research article on the measurement of the treatment for malaria in Zambia and a review article considering survey error and interpretation of household surveys. Tulane co-authors on these two articles include Joseph Keating, associate professor, Joshua Yukich, research assistant professor, and Adam Bennett, research assistant professor. All are faculty in the Center for Applied Malaria Research and Evaluation in the Department of Global Health Systems and Development.

Links:
PLOS Medicine: www.plosmedicine.org
PLOS Collection Measuring Coverage in Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health: http://www.ploscollections.org/measuringcoverageinmnch
Center for Applied Malaria Research and Evaluation: http://tulane.edu/publichealth/camre/


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