Request for Applications: Improving Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health

Request for Application Release date Closing date  
Improving Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health
19 December 2018 1 February 2019 (6 pm SAST)  
Target audience: Open call for researchers based at South African universities, science councils (including the SAMRC) and other public research organisations.

Topics: Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal and Newborn Health  

The SAMRC, through its Health Systems Research Unit (HSRU), is seeking to fund proposals from South African public research organizations to strengthen health systems for improved sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health. Improving SRMNH requires a multifactorial approach to intervention design across the spectrum of prevention and care, comprised of a package of commodities, adequate numbers and distribution of clinical staff, and skills and enforced standardized protocols for timely diagnosis, treatment and referral.  This RFA aims to support:

  • a small number of highly collaborative implementation science / operational research / embedded research / innovations in the areas of Sexual Reproductive Maternal and Newborn Health. Pilot projects / feasibility projects are allowed, as long as they are embedded within the health system
  • research that strengthens health systems including those that aim to close critical gaps within the health system
  • studies to refine current service delivery so that these can be replicated at scale and integrated into routine care packages

Priority research areas include:

  • How to strengthen health systems for people. This includes:
    • improving the process of care (competent care and systems and / positive user experiences), and
    • improving the quality of care to improve health outcomes, user confidence in the health system and increase user economic benefits. This includes:
      • developing and validating measurements of quality for SRMNH
      • assessing equity of quality of care across dimensions of vulnerability (settings (rural versus urban; districts versus quaternary care; primary versus quaternary care); demographics and diseases)
      • analyzing the effect of quality of care on health care providers and users
  • How to strengthen the foundations of the health system including:
    • understanding population health needs and expectations, including:
      • exploring how demand for quality health care can be improved
      • refining the best design for district-level learning strategies e.g. quality improvement collaboratives,
    • improving health system governance,
    • improving the accessibility and organization of care,
    • strengthening the health workforce (numbers, skills and support) and
    • improving access to and use of tools (equipment, medicines, data) within the health system, including:
      • how to best disseminate and use guidelines
      • how to improve data quality at facility, district, provincial and national levels
  • How to scale up known effective interventions in the areas of SRMNH,
  • The development or testing of novel innovations that could be potential game changers in improving SRMNH: Innovations may include:
    • process innovations that improve health service organization / governance / service delivery platforms
    • process innovations that improve quality of care
    • innovations that improve data use and quality in facilities
    • novel commodities that need feasibility and acceptability testing e.g. an innovation that monitors neonatal hypothermia

The research outputs would improve access to quality sexual, reproductive, antenatal, obstetric and new born care.

The total amount available for year 2 is approximately R435 000 (R145 000 per project if three projects are funded). The total amount available for year 3 is R168 000 (R56 000 per project if three projects are funded. Applicants do not need to submit budgets for years 2 and 3 if there is no need for funding support during years 2 and 3. Priority will be given to projects in the following catchment areas:

  • Dora Nginza Hospital and all its feeder facilities (Eastern Cape);
  • Letaba Hospital and all its feeder facilities (Limpopo); and
  • Themba Hospital and all its feeder facilities (Mpumalanga).

Projects outside these catchment areas will be considered if they address a priority problem and could provide solutions to SRMNH challenges in South Africa

Proposals will only be considered for funding if they meet the funding eligibility requirements as specified in the RFA document.

All applications must be submitted on the SAMRC templates. Please see the links below for the relevant application documents. 

Application documents:

Please direct any enquires on the RFA to

Friday, February 1, 2019 - 18:00