Factors in health initiative success: learning from Nepal's newborn survival initiative

Soc Sci Med. 2011 Feb;72(4):568-75. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2010.11.022. Epub 2010 Dec 9.


What shapes the level of political priority for alleviation of significant health problems in low-income countries? We investigate this question in the context of the significantly increasing political priority for newborn survival in Nepal since 2000. We use a process-tracing methodology to investigate causes of this shift, drawing on twenty-nine interviews with individuals close to newborn health policymaking in Nepal and extensive document analysis. Shifts in the political context (commitments to the child health MDG), the strength of concerned actors (emergence of collective action, leadership, resources) and the power of ideas (problem status, existence of contextually relevant solutions, agreement on these points) surrounding the issue have been instrumental in elevating priority for newborn survival, if not institutionalizing that priority to ensure long-term support. The findings highlight the significance of political fragmentation in war-torn areas for impeding priority generation. Additionally, theories of social construction provide important insights to the roles of ideas in shaping health initiative success.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Global Health
  • Health Policy*
  • Health Priorities*
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality / trends*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Nepal / epidemiology
  • Policy Making
  • Politics*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Survival Analysis