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Table 1 Countdown to 2015: country case studies supplement objectives and overview

From: Countries’ progress for women’s and children’s health in the Millennium Development Goal era: the Countdown to 2015 experience

Overall supplement objectives
 1) To use evidence from the portfolio of in-depth country case studies to describe lessons learned, focusing on how progress was achieved.
 2) To showcase results from Countdown country case studies that used a set of novel health system and policy (HSP) tools designed to systematically analyse HSP factors that have contributed to change, or lack thereof, in reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health (RMNCH) in a country, how these changes occurred, and to enable cross-country comparisons.
 3) To provide a cross-country comparison on the health financing component of the case studies, analysing how health financing may be related to RMNCH outcomes.
 4) To present evidence on regional variation across health systems building blocks for care at birth outcomes in Tanzania, to test associations between health system inputs and outcomes, and to present each region’s implementation readiness according to key inputs and performance.
 5) To describe the variations in neonatal mortality over time in Peru, to explore disaggregated trends by wealth quintiles and by urban/rural residence over time, to assess completeness of registered deaths, and to explore possible factors driving the progress achieved
 6) To explore coverage and socioeconomic inequalities in key life-saving RMNCH interventions at the national level and by region in Afghanistan.
Overview of papers in the supplement
Paper 1: Multi-country analyses: Mixed method (quantitative and content analyses) evidence from the portfolio of country case studies to describe lessons learned, focusing on how progress was achieved across the RMNCH continuum of care [11].
Paper 2: Health policies and systems: Highlights the methods and key findings from the health systems and policies tools developed for the purpose of the case studies to understand key factors driving progress across the RMNCH continuum of care in case study countries [13].
Paper 3: Financing:  Draws on lessons learned and overall themes from the Countdown case studies on how health financing influences RMNCH outcomes and the achievements of MDG 4 and 5 [12].
Paper 4: Tanzania: Evaluates subnational (at regional level) variations for care at birth outcomes, i.e. rural women giving birth in a facility and by Caesarean-section, and associations with inputs according to the health systems building blocks [14].
Paper 5: Peru: Describes time trends in NMR at national and district level in Peru, by wealth quintiles and by urban/rural residence and explore underlying factors [15].
Paper 6: Afghanistan: A ssesses levels of coverage, and the absolute and relative socioeconomic inequalities in 11 essential RMNCH interventions, including measures of composite coverage, at the national level and for the eight geographic regions of Afghanistan. To quantify the number of child deaths averted through scale up of effective community-based interventions across socioeconomic groups based on the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) [16].