Project overview

Maternal and newborn health in urban areas

We study the dynamics that arise between the provision and the utilisation of maternal and neonatal health services in urban areas, particularly in large cities.

Our objective

We work with partners around the globe to understand the ways women seek care, the capacities of the healthcare facilities that provide care, and the health outcomes as a result of this interaction. The objective of this research is to improve the survival and well-being of mothers and their newborns, through in-depth understanding of and engagement with local communities and decision makers.


This study was funded by the Institute of Tropical Medicine’s internal funds, which are supported by the Department of Economy, Science & Innovation of the Flemish Government, and the fifth framework agreement between ITM and the Belgian Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD).

Dr Benova is partially funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO) as part of her senior postdoctoral fellowship. 

Research team


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2022-05-13 10.02.08


  • Our study of 22 large African cities included nearly 20,000 women. We concluded that few cities achieved good performance across the three services within the maternal continuum of care (antenatal, childbirth and postnatal care). Most cities showed inconsistent levels of maternal care utilisation and content across the continuum of care. Cotonou and Accra relatively showed the best performance and Nairobi and Ndjamena the worst.

    A tale of 22 cities: utilisation patterns and content of maternal care in large African cities


DGD partners

  • Centre de Recherche en Reproduction Humaine et en Démographie (CERRHUD)

  • École de Santé Publique de l'Université de Lubumbashi (ESP/UNILU)

  • Centre d’excellence africain pour la prévention et le contrôle des maladies transmissibles (CEA-PCMT)

Other partners

Research themes

  • women-participating-in-pregact-trial-nazoanga-burkina-faso-sexual-and-reproductive-health-itm
    We help improve sexual and reproductive health in the world by combining scientific research, advanced education, policy support and capacity-strengthening initiatives.