Countdown to 2015: Tracking Progress in Maternal, Newborn and Child Survival

WHO/Pallava BaglaEstablished in 2005 as a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration, Countdown to 2015 is a global movement of academics, governments, international agencies, health-care professional associations, donors, and nongovernmental organizations, with The Lancet as a key partner. Countdown uses country-specific data to stimulate and support country progress towards achieving the health-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Countdown tracks progress in the 75 countries where more than 95% of all maternal and child deaths occur, including the 49 lowest-income countries. With a focus on MDGs 4 and 5, Countdown promotes accountability from governments and development partners, identifies knowledge gaps, and proposes new actions to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.

Countdown focuses on coverage — the proportion of individuals needing a health service or intervention who actually receive it — and on the equitable distribution of coverage across socioeconomic, ethnic, gender, and other population groups within countries. Countdown also examines the policy, health system, and financial factors that are crucial to determining coverage levels, patterns and trends. In addition, Countdown recognizes that a broader set of political, economic, social, technological, cultural, environmental, and other contextual factors affect coverage and mortality.

In 2011, Countdown agreed to take responsibility for major parts of the follow-up agenda of the Commission for Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health, including annual reporting and analysis of country-specific information on key indicators of coverage and its determinants, and to work closely with country-level partners to deepen the programmatic and policy impact of Countdown’s data and analysis in high-burden countries.