Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

New programme reporting standards for sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health programmes

A mother and child resting at a postnatal ward, Cambodia.
WHO/WPRO/Y Shimizu

14 September 2017 -- Global Evidence Summit, Cape Town, South Africa

WHO has developed new standards to strengthen reporting on information related to the design, context, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (SRMNCAH) programmes and research.

The Programme reporting standards for sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health were developed by WHO's Departments of Reproductive Health and Research including HRP, and Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health and in collaboration with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR).

The need for new programme reporting standards

Programmes for SRMNCAH operate under complex, real-world conditions that often make it difficult to communicate clearly what is being done, when, where, how and by whom in a timely and consistent manner.

For example, a systematic review of comprehensive adolescent health programmes found that very few programmes described their programme activities and implementation processes, making it difficult to understand how results were achieved and how best to identify and replicate the successful components. The impact of many programmes, particularly those that are social and behavioural in nature, is also very much tied to the local context (e.g. sociocultural, socioeconomic, geographical, legal, political, health system) and to the processes of implementation, which may not be easily described.

To assess the evidence on the effectiveness of interventions, expert groups require a better understanding of programme implementation and context. A standardized way of reporting on the implementation processes as well as contextual factors throughout the programme would allow for easier synthesis of this information, and facilitate communication between researchers and practitioners.

The PRS is intended for programme managers and other staff or practitioners who have designed, implemented and/or evaluated programmes in the field of SRMNCAH. It can be used by government bodies, nongovernmental organizations, bilateral or multilateral agencies, as well as private sector actors.

Highlighting lessons learnt in the field

The PRS checklist seeks to fill the gaps mentioned above by providing a list of key reporting items related to the development, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation processes of SRMNCAH programmes. By focusing specifically on the systematic reporting of these processes, the PRS highlights lessons learnt in the field and helps to facilitate replication and scale-up.

The PRS can be used prospectively to guide the reporting of a programme throughout its life cycle, or retrospectively to describe what was done, when, where, how and by whom.

A collaborative process

The PRS was developed through a structured, collaborative process led by WHO's Departments of Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health and Reproductive Health and Research, including HRP and in collaboration with the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (AHPSR). The process consisted of four steps: systematic review of guidelines and reporting tools; an online Delphi consensus survey; a technical consultation with experts and pilot testing.