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Catalytic Initiative to Save a Million Lives


The Catalytic Initiative to Save a Million Lives (CI) was a central part of the movement to accelerate progress towards achieving MDGs 4 and 5.  IIP was the independent evaluation partner for two major programs within the CI:

  1. UNICEF and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) supported the “Integrated Health System Strengthening” project that aims to accelerate reductions in under-five mortality in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa:  Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique and Niger. This initiative built on the experience of the Accelerated Child Survival and Development (ACSD) project that was implemented in 11 African countries between 2002 and 2004.
  2. In late 2006, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) approved a grant to The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH) to demonstrate that rapid scale-ups in coverage for proven interventions would lead to reductions in under-five mortality in Burkina Faso, Malawi and Mozambique. This grant is guided by a Management Group and administered by WHO, and is part of the CI.

The focus of these two efforts, and indeed of the entire CI, was on accelerating coverage for life-saving interventions that have been proven efficacious in reducing mortality in children under the age of five years in randomized control trials. The effectiveness of these interventions varied across specific country contexts and depends on the strength of implementation. IIP was commissioned to carry out independent prospective evaluations of both of these programs.

The objectives of the CI evaluations were to

  • For the “Rapid Scale-Up” to provide “proof of concept” that proven interventions can be scaled up rapidly to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality, include the costs of the scale-up and its effects on equity.
  • For the UNICEF-IHSS:  to monitor changes in under-five mortality in “real-time” in geographic areas where the CI is being implemented.


  • Malawi:  National Statistical Office and University of Malawi 
  • Ghana: Noguchi Memorial Institute
  • Mali: Centre de Recherche d’Etudes et de Documentation pour la Survie l’Enfant 
  • Niger: Institut National de la Statistique
  • Burkina Faso: Institut Supérieur des Sciences de la Population

Partners in other countries will be identified as planning for the evaluations continues.


The evaluation of the “Rapid Scale-Up” is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation via the World Health Organization.

The "Real-Time" Monitoring of Under-Five Mortality (RMM) project is funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.