Countdown to 2030 aims to provide the best and most recent scientific evidence on country-level progress towards the achievement of universal health coverage for reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health and nutrition (RMNCAH&N). Countdown also aims to improve the use of data to accelerate attention, accountability, and action for scaling up equitable coverage of priority RMNCH&N interventions. Countdown adds value by forging an evidence-based consensus on priority interventions and associated coverage indicators; producing country profiles ; analyzing coverage trends, equity patterns and key drivers of coverage; developing and validating new and innovative methods for collecting data on RMNCAH&N ; and linking science and action along the continuum of care.
The information and analysis in Countdown’s reports and country profiles is based on publicly-available data: the most updated country data on the coverage indicators tracked in Countdown are available at data.unicef.org. The most updated data on health policy indicators tracked in Countdown is available from the UNICEF website.
As part of each Countdown reporting cycle, a broad consultative technical review process is carried out to review and update the Countdown country list, equity dimensions that are included in our analyses, and the indicator list so that it reflects the latest evidence on effective interventions for MNCH.
Results from the 2016-2017 technical review process and resulting country and indicator lists are available here.
Interventions and indicators
Countdown’s selection of priority interventions and indicators is guided by the Countdown Principles, which include a focus on coverage – the proportion of individuals needing a service or intervention who actually receive it. All interventions tracked through Countdown are scientifically proven to reduce mortality among mothers, newborns, or children. Coverage of service delivery platforms, such as antenatal and postnatal care, childbirth, and family planning services also need to be tracked, as they provide the basic platform for delivery of multiple effective interventions to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality. Countdown tracks only interventions and approaches that are feasible for universal implementation in poor countries. In addition, to be tracked, an intervention or approach must be associated with a valid coverage indicator that is reliable, comparable across countries and time, nationally representative, clear and comprehensible by policy makers and program managers, and available regularly in most Countdown priority countries.
Each Countdown Report includes annexes that define all indicators and identify their data sources. Countdown does not collect new data for its coverage measures, but uses available data accessible to the public from UNICEF and WHO.
Data quality control
Quality control of Countdown’s coverage estimates is the responsibility of many different groups. Countdown supplements these efforts by working closely with UNICEF and others responsible for maintaining global databases, and conducts additional quality checks to ensure consistency and reliability. Country profiles are shared with ministries of health and UN colleagues prior to publication. Work is under way to address continuing challenges in estimating coverage and associated uncertainty.