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DFID Research Consortium Meets in Ghana

21 November 2008

Towards 4+5 Research Programme Consortium annual meeting

Towards 4+5, the five-year Research Programme Consortium on maternal, newborn and child health funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK, held its third annual workshop in Ghana on 3rd-6th November 2008. The first one was held in Malawi in 2006 and the second in London in 2007.


The goal of the consortium is the reduction of maternal and newborn infant mortality so as to achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. It conducts research to develop the evidence base for policy for mother and infant care at facility and community level, in addition to working with collaborating institutions to enhance their capacity in research development and communication of research to policy makers and other stakeholders. The consortium comprises partners in the UK, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Malawi and Nepal.

The participants at this key meeting (47 in total) comprised of researchers from all 6 partners countries, policy makers from Bangladesh, Nepal, Ghana, Malawi, a communications officer, a management consultant and 3 Department for International Development colleagues, one a senior health advisor currently working in Nigeria and 2 UK based working within the Research division.

The key aims of the workshop were to:

Ø Share Towards 4+5 research experiences and findings with stakeholders in order to stimulate discussions on strategies to improve maternal and neonatal health

Ø Review, validate and finalize RPC outputs on the integration of interventions and activities in maternal and neonatal health with policy makers in participating countries

Ø Discuss and review good practices in getting research into policy and practice in maternal and neonatal health

The format of the workshop comprised of 28 sessions with presentations by both researchers and policy makers, supported by significant discussion periods, and a series of discussion panels, both approaches providing considerable opportunity for all to share their progress to date, expertise, opinions and outstanding challenges.

DFID provided helpful insight into issues related to their particular agenda during the discussion periods, the panel discussions and in their evaluations.

The workshop also provided a valuable opportunity for cross fertilisation of ideas and working methods across the partner countries, something somewhat lacking to date, and the head of the consortium was able to provide an excellent summary of the outcomes that are now emerging as a result of the work undertaken by the Towards 4+5 consortium and its’ linked partners.