Countdown is a collaboration of academics from global, regional, country institutions, UN agencies and World Bank and civil society organizations, to track progress of life-saving interventions for Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N). Originally known as Countdown to 2015, the Countdown Initiative was started in 2003, in response to the challenge of the health-related Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

Countdown generates evidence to foster advocacy and accountability for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health. We analyze data on coverage of health interventions across socioeconomic status, gender, education, and geography, and on key drivers of change such as policy, finance, and other health system dimensions.

In 2016, the Countdown to 2030 Initiative adapted its strategies and approaches to align with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and particularly the Global Strategy for Women’s Children’s and Adolescents’ Health 2016-2030.

Countdown focuses on strengthening country evidence and analytical capacity through working with country analysts from public health institutions, research institutions and ministries of health.  In 2020, Countdown expanded our work to collaborate with public health institutions in 15 countries through a partnership with the Global Financing Facility (GFF). Through Exemplars in Global Health, we also began research studies in 8 countries to understand why some countries outperformed others in maternal and newborn mortality declines during years 2000-2017.

Countdown to 2030 Structure



African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC), Johns Hopkins University (JHU) and University of Manitoba, and the US Fund for UNICEF provide administrative and fiscal management to Countdown projects and investments.

  • Director: Ties Boerma, University of Manitoba
  • Coordinator: Shelley Walton, Johns Hopkins University
  • Africa Operations: Cheikh Faye, APHRC
  • US Fund for UNICEF
Steering Committee

The steering committee aims to coordinate and align Countdown initiatives and is co-chaired by a representative from the UN and from the research community. The steering committee co-chairs are

  • Catherine Kyobutungi from APHRC and
  • Anshu Banerjee from the World Health Organization.
Technical Working Group

Co-chaired by APHRC and JHU, it guides the monitoring and measurement work with the focus areas in effective coverage, equity, finance, conflict, nutrition, and early childhood development. The technical working group co-chairs are:

  • Bob Black from Johns Hopkins University and
  • Cheikh Faye from APHRC.
Data Analysis Centers

Countdown has established six Data Analysis Centers (DAC) which will support the GFF countries with tools and methods for data analysis and are also contributing to global synthesis of country evidence. DACs will maintain a repository of country data and contribute to monitoring and measuring the progress and performance of RMNCAH+N from a global and regional perspective.

Download an overview of Countdown to 2030 in   English or   French.