Centre for Maternal, Adolescent, Reproductive, and Child Health

MARCH Report & Strategy 2018-20: Looking to the past to inform the future of women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health worldwide

On 22nd May 2018 the MARCH Centre will hold a key event to mark the launch of the new Centre report. The event is on ‘Next Generation: Shaping the future of health research for women, children & young people‘ and will ask:

If we want to impact the health of women, children and young people in 5-10 years, what shifts in research and education do we need to make now, given the time lag from research idea to policy and practice?

Register for the event here.

Ahead of the event MARCH Centre Director Professor Joy Lawn outlines the strengths, gaps and opportunities for LSHTM led research on women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health in a letter featured in the Centre report. See her letter below.


When I worked in Ghana in the mid-1990s I loved the Adinkra symbol “Sankofa” which means “look to your past to go forward”. This second MARCH report marks around a decade since the Centre launched, and I have been Director for about half that period. For the first time we have undertaken an evidence based review of our history, and importantly our research to understand our strengths and also gaps and opportunities. For impact in 5-10 years, what shifts do we need to make now, given the time lag from research idea to policy and practice?

The health burden related to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health remains one of the largest in global health, with almost 10 million deaths each year.

We face the challenge of going beyond working on one point in the lifecycle, or one condition or research discipline alone, and the even greater challenge of going beyond the health sector.

Looking back at history

Our School has more than a century of history of transforming health around the world, with a strong record of research, policy impact and leadership development. In the early days, the School’s research focus was on infections, in particular malaria, and vaccines, on water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), and on chronic disease including seminal studies on smoking and exercise. As well as topic specific research, the School has led on innovations in research methods including randomised controlled trials, pragmatic evaluation designs and innovative survey methods.

At the heart of this research was attention to children’s health, especially nutrition, and to women’s health, with decades of research leadership in family planning and maternal mortality measurement.

More recently we have developed strengths in “global gap” issues that also reflect the most vulnerable points in the lifecycle including: fetal and newborn health, early child development and adolescent health.

Looking at future research

This report will take you on a journey through LSHTM’s research around the world by our A, B and C themes (summarised according to focus on Survive, Thrive, or Transform), then through conditions that affect health all throughout the lifecycle and by different sectors.

By reviewing our current research, compared to global burden we have identified priorities and gaps, setting a vision for the next generation of research and for leadership across the globe.

I am honoured to be part of this community and together we commit to reaching further, higher and faster for global health impact within our generation.

Professor Joy Lawn,

Director, MARCH Centre

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