How does a multi-country, multilateral network focused on specific health care improvements evolve and what shapes its ability to achieve its goals?

LSHTM Faculty of Public Health and Policy Seminar Series

To tackle a shared low- and middle-income country (LMIC) need for improved labour, childbirth and newborn care the World Health Organization (WHO) and global partners are pursuing a 'global network' approach called The Network for Improving Quality of Care for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (QCN). Their aim is for countries to learn from each other about which approaches to improving quality of care may work best in which circumstances to achieve shared health outcome goals. The QCN, which involves 11 countries in Africa and South Asia, aims to promote coordination between partners while emphasising country ownership and leadership, and shared learning. 

In this seminar Professor Tim Colbourn will present initial results of a three-year research project evaluating the emergence, legitimacy and effectiveness of the network at global, national and local levels. The research is funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC) and has been undertaken by a large team including colleagues at partner organisations in Bangladesh, Malawi, Uganda, Ethiopia, the US and UK.  

Our work draws on theories concerning network organisation and structure, emergence and effectiveness of networks, the policy process (agenda-setting, formulation, decision-making, implementation and evaluation), the nature of power and agency in relation to structure, and diffusion of innovation. We are working towards a generalizable theory of change for similar global networks and are working on a series of papers that we hope to launch later in 2022. 

This session will be chaired by Chris Bonell, Professor of Public Health Sociology, LSHTM. 


Tim Colbourn, Professor of Global Health Epidemiology and Evaluation, UCL, Institute for Global Health 

Tim Colbourn is a health systems researcher and epidemiologist with expertise in process, impact and economic evaluation. Tim’s research focuses on maternal, newborn and child health, and health systems interventions in communities and health facilities in Africa. Tim’s current research includes work evaluating a multi-country quality improvement network with a focus on Bangladesh, Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia (MRC Health Systems Research Initiative grant), evaluating interventions for childhood pneumonia in Nigeria (The Save the Children-GSK INSPIRING programme in Jigawa and Lagos) and health systems, economics and finance for health in Nigeria more broadly (Lancet Nigeria Commission), and GRCF/Wellcome-funded health systems modelling project Thanzi La Onse/Thanzi La Mawa, which aims to inform priorities for the Malawian government. 


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