Ensuring Quality Access and Learning (EQUAL) for Mothers and Newborns in Conflict-Affected.


EQUAL is a multi-country research consortium generating evidence on effective approaches to deliver life-saving maternal and newborn health care in countries affected by conflict. EQUAL is made up of six partner organizations including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Somali Research and Development Institute, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), and Université Catholique de Bukavu. Each partner has demonstrated expertise in health research and brings the local knowledge and relationships needed to ensure the work undertaken is contextually relevant and achieves the greatest impact. This project is five-year contract which is one of the largest research investments to date on the topic in humanitarian contexts and will work to identify and fill evidence gaps that could ultimately improve policies, programming, and outcomes for mothers and newborns. The consortium will conduct research in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, northeast Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan -- countries and regions where maternal and newborn mortality rates rank among the highest globally. In Somalia, for example, 38 newborn babies die for every 1,000 live births -- a devastating statistic that is nearly ten times higher than the risk faced by newborns in high-income countries. EQUAL’s research focuses on approaches to provide and/or maintain the quality care during the day of birth and the first week of life -- a period when the most maternal and newborn deaths occur. Specifically, in Somalia, we will work on the following work-streams (WS):

Political economy analysis (PEA) of the evolution of politics, financing, and practice affecting MNH.

Maternal and newborn health (MNH) has been largely neglected in low-income, conflict-affected settings, as demonstrated by limited donor funding and research. Existing studies rarely examine the unique challenges of delivering health care in conflict-affected settings. These challenges are

Implementation research on CHW-delivered MNH services (Benadir and Galgaduud, Somalia)

While medical care provided at a health facility is recommended, it is not always possible in crisis-affected communities where health systems are weak, facilities are damaged or distant, and trained providers are limited.  In these cases, community health systems – including the support of

Longitudinal assessment of midwifery education and services (Benadir and Galgaduud, Somalia)

To end all preventable maternal and neonatal deaths, services such as those included in emergency obstetric and neonatal care (EmONC) are critical. Unfortunately, the interventions and delivery mechanisms that would ensure these life-saving services are accessible and high