West and Central Africa Regional Network Initiative

The Francophone West and Central Africa Region (WCA) includes, respectively, 9 and 6 countries with a quarter of Africa’s population (128 and 126 million); Anglophone West Africa adds another 222 million. Child and maternal mortality rates in WCA are the highest in the world, considerably higher than in the other sub-regions of Africa. Emergency and conflicts have disproportionally affected WCA including DR Congo, Central African Republic and Chad in Central Africa, and Mali, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone.

RMNCH data to support policy and program development are available, mostly from surveys, and there is increasing demand for RMNCH analyses. However, institutional capacity for analysis is limited in almost all countries and few actors are working on evidence generation and capacity strengthening in the region. To address this gap, Countdown is establishing a regional consortium of research or statistical institutions and Ministries of Health with the goals of:

  • strengthening the evidence in support of RMNCAH and nutrition programs through multi-country studies
  • enhancing the capacity of country and regional institutions to conduct RMNCAH and nutrition related analyses and research and effectively communicate the findings to policy makers.

Participants from the first Countdown to 2030 workshop in WCA – Strengthening Analysis and Evidence for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH&N). Learn more about the workshop.


The initial aim is to establish a three-year initiative in partnership with national and regional institutions to conduct multi-country studies on RMNCAH & nutrition that generate evidence for policymaking and programs at the national, regional and global levels. The project will incorporate a strong capacity strengthening component and lead to the creation of a regional network of institutions linked with the Countdown to 2030 initiative. The centerpiece for 2017-2020 are three year-long rounds of analysis, evidence generation and communication with country and global institutions. The prototype for a round of analysis and communication is described in Figure 1.

General description of a one round of analysis and capacity strengthening

The analysis component uses data from household surveys (e.g. to assess the implementation status of the continuum of care and equity in the coverage of interventions), health facilities (DHIS2, facility assessments), and administrative data sources (workforce, financing etc.). Operational research data is integrated into the analysis, particularly to explain why certain changes happen or do not happen. As with other Countdown research and analysis, the focus is on coverage and equity, but with considerable attention for drivers of change. Subnational analysis is prioritized where possible and relevant. Co-funded by the Health Data Collaborative, the first workshop was held in Saly, Senegal from March 26-30, 2018.

Strengthening Analysis and Evidence for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH&N)

Saly, Senegal
March 26-30, 2018

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Leaving no woman and no child behind: levels and trends in inequalities for RMNCH by wealth, urban-rural residence, and administrative area

Grand-Bassam, Cote d’Ivoire
September 24-27, 2018

The Countdown to 2030 regional network for West and Central Africa, led by the West Africa Health Organization, conducted its second analysis workshop. The 50 analysts from the Ministry of Health and national public health institutions in 20 countries from the subregion focused on the inequalities in the continuum of care for reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, facilitated by a team from APHRC, Johns Hopkins University, University of Pelotas, University of Manitoba, WHO and UNICEF.

The first workshop had focused on the analysis of individual (with Stata) and aggregate data (extracted from StatCompiler and analysed in Excel and HEATPlus). The participants produced basic tabulations and graphics on inequalities in RMNCH. In the subsequent months the country teams conducted further analyses and compiled data on health system and services in their home countries. The second workshop brought together all data and analyses for their countries and for the region. Tools for analysis of survey data, annotated graphs and rich discussions on interpretation of the results furthered the analytical capacities and generated evidence for decision-making.

The participants produced and interpreted visualizations of levels and trends in inequalities in coverage and child mortality their countries in the region, including new insights into differences between the rich and the poor, subnational health system performance and urban progress. The network is continuing to work on regional publications on these subjects and planning further analysis meetings on the generation of health statistics from health facility data and other topics.

Health facility data analysis: 3rd workshop

Dakar, Senegal
May 13-16, 2019

The Countdown to 2030 regional initiative for West and Central Africa, led by the West African Health Organization in collaboration with the African Population Health Research Center (APHRC), teamed up with WHO and UNICEF to conduct its 3rd analysis workshop. The focus was on health facility data analysis for intervention coverage indicators and mortality/morbidity statistics for universal health coverage. Twenty countries nominated 60 participants – senior analysts from Ministry of Health, public health institutions and Universities – and brought their own district and national data sets for in-depth analysis using new tools and approaches. Data quality score cards, data adjustments and analyses of subnational levels and trends were presented in a country poster session at the end of the workshop.

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