Countdown is working in India and six other countries to understand the drivers of the major declines in maternal and newborn mortality over the past decades, as part of the Global Health Exemplars studies of Gates Ventures.

The Countdown exemplar study in India is a partnership between International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS), National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC), the India Health Action Trust (IHAT), and the University of Manitoba, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation country office. All the Countdown exemplar studies have a similar mixed methods design.



Between 2000 and 2018, India was in the top quintile of countries with the fastest declining maternal mortality ratios (MMR) and neonatal mortality rates (NMR). In 2000, 23% of the world’s maternal deaths and 31% of its neonatal deaths occurred in India. By 2017-18, India’s share of global deaths reduced to 12% of maternal deaths and 22% of neonatal deaths. Importantly, India has exceptional data on mortality, including the Sample Registration System (SRS), multiple national surveys, and a wealth of research. However, India has large heterogeneity in mortality levels between states. This provides an opportunity to learn from different approaches and successes in reducing maternal and neonatal mortality in different geographical settings within India.

India Countdown Collaboration Team

Shajy K. Isac
Usha Ram
Manoj Alagarajan
Andrea Blanchard
BM Ramesh
Ties Boerma
James Blanchard