Countdown and the Continuum of Care

When Countdown began in 2005, its mission was to take stock of, and to hold countries and their partners accountable for, progress in preventing the deaths of newborns and children. In subsequent years, groundbreaking articles and commentaries published in The Lancet and other journals, as well as in WHO’s 2005 report, Making every mother and child count, helped to focus a new level of international attention on the overriding importance of the continuum of care for maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH). The continuum of care for MNCH is based on a recognition of the tight interlinkages between maternal, newborn and child health and includes two dimensions, time and location. (Comprehensive information on the continuum of care is available in a knowledge summary, Enable the Continuum of Care, published by the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health in 2010.)

The first dimension of the continuum of care is time - from pre-pregnancy, through pregnancy, childbirth, and the early days and years of life.

continuum of care

The second dimension of the continuum of care is place - linking the various levels of home, community, and health facilities.

continuum-of-care2

Countdown’s focus was broadened for its 2008 Report and conference to encompass the MNCH continuum of care, and effective maternal and reproductive health interventions were added to the list of interventions that it tracks. Since then, Countdown’s data, analysis, and messaging have emphasized and highlighted the importance of countries providing and ensuring equitable coverage for essential interventions across the continuum.