Implementing the QUALI-DEC project in Argentina, Burkina Faso, Thailand and Viet Nam: a process delineation and theory-driven process evaluation protocol

Glob Health Action. 2023 Dec 31;16(1):2290636. doi: 10.1080/16549716.2023.2290636. Epub 2023 Dec 22.


The project 'Quality Decision-making by women and providers' (QUALI-DEC) combines four non-clinical interventions to promote informed decision-making surrounding mode of birth, improve women's birth experiences, and reduce caesarean sections among low-risk women. QUALI-DEC is currently being implemented in 32 healthcare facilities across Argentina, Burkina Faso, Thailand, and Viet Nam. In this paper, we detail implementation processes and the planned process evaluation, which aims to assess how and for whom QUALI-DEC worked, the mechanisms of change and their interactions with context and setting; adaptations to intervention and implementation strategies, feasibility of scaling-up, and cost-effectiveness of the intervention. We developed a project theory of change illustrating how QUALI-DEC might lead to impact. The theory of change, together with on the ground observations of implementation processes, guided the process evaluation strategy including what research questions and perspectives to prioritise. Main data sources will include: 1) regular monitoring visits in healthcare facilities, 2) quantitative process and output indicators, 3) a before and after cross-sectional survey among post-partum women, 4) qualitative interviews with all opinion leaders, and 5) qualitative interviews with postpartum women and health workers in two healthcare facilities per country, as part of a case study approach. We foresee that the QUALI-DEC process evaluation will generate valuable information that will improve interpretation of the effectiveness evaluation. At the policy level, we anticipate that important lessons and methodological insights will be drawn, with application to other settings and stakeholders looking to implement complex interventions aiming to improve maternal and newborn health and wellbeing.Trial registration: ISRCTN67214403.

Keywords: Non-clinical interventions; QUALI-DEC; evidence-based practices; implementation science; informed decision-making; maternal health; multifaceted intervention; theory of change.

MeSH terms

  • Argentina
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cross-Sectional Studies*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Pregnancy
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam