In an effort to contribute knowledge to advance the maternal health field, the evaluations conducted by MET LSHTM are generating evidence on the use, quality, equity and market dynamics of private maternal health services, and whether interventions such as social franchising can increase access to lifesaving care for all women. Our research will help to answer questions on how to improve the affordability and quality of both private and public maternal health services, including how and why interventions work, whether they are cost-effective, and their potential impact on maternal and reproductive health if replicated in other contexts.

Working alongside in-country research partners, MET LSHTM will develop an evidence base in two main areas:

Contextual analyses to better understand the private health sector

  • Largest ever analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys from 57 countries to identify where women are seeking family planning, antenatal care and labour and delivery services, as well as the quality and equity of those services in the public and private sectors (SAGE)
  • Characterisation of the market dynamics at play in providing private maternal health services in Uttar Pradesh, India (Nature of Competition)


Photo: Jonathan Torgovnik

Evaluations of MSD for Mothers interventions

  • Impact and process evaluations of market-based interventions to improve the delivery of high quality maternal health and family planning services in India (Matrika) and Senegal (PROCEED)
  • Case studies of three social franchising models for maternal health in India and Uganda to distil lessons learned and answer questions on cost and effectiveness (Case Studies)
  • Modelling the estimated impact of interventions such as social franchising, clinical standards and accreditation on maternal health (DATA-HI)

Findings are expected to have important implications locally, nationally and globally as governments and key stakeholders around the world consider how to integrate private providers into their strategies for achieving universal health coverage. Results will be released throughout 2015-2017, both in formal peer-reviewed publications and through conference presentations, dissemination workshops and white papers.

LSHTM is a leading international institution of public health research and was recently cited as one of the world’s top universities for collaborative research. MET includes experts in health economics, epidemiology, anthropology, and statistics. The team is led by Dr Caroline Lynch and Dr Catherine Goodman. MSD for Mothers is a 10-year, $500 million global initiative to reduce maternal mortality.

This research was supported by funding from Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA, through its MSD for Mothers programme. MSD had no role in the design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data, in writing of the manuscripts, or in the decision to submit the manuscripts for publication. The content of these publications is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not represent the official views of MSD or MSD for Mothers.