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Open Access Correspondence

Building capacity for evidence generation, synthesis and implementation to improve the care of mothers and babies in South East Asia: methods and design of the SEA-ORCHID Project using a logical framework approach

Steve McDonald1*, Tari Turner1, Catherine Chamberlain1, Pisake Lumbiganon2, Jadsada Thinkhamrop2, Mario R Festin3, Jacqueline J Ho4, Hakimi Mohammad5, David J Henderson-Smart6, Jacki Short6, Caroline A Crowther7, Ruth Martis7, Sally Green1 and the SEA-ORCHID Study Group1

Author Affiliations

1 Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3168, Australia

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002, Thailand

3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, Manila 1000, Philippines

4 Department of Paediatrics, Penang Medical College, Penang 10450, Malaysia

5 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia

6 NSW Centre for Perinatal Health Services Research, Queen Elizabeth II Research Institute, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

7 Discipline of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2010, 10:61  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-61

Published: 1 July 2010



Rates of maternal and perinatal mortality remain high in developing countries despite the existence of effective interventions. Efforts to strengthen evidence-based approaches to improve health in these settings are partly hindered by restricted access to the best available evidence, limited training in evidence-based practice and concerns about the relevance of existing evidence. South East Asia - Optimising Reproductive and Child Health in Developing Countries (SEA-ORCHID) was a five-year project that aimed to determine whether a multifaceted intervention designed to strengthen the capacity for research synthesis, evidence-based care and knowledge implementation improved clinical practice and led to better health outcomes for mothers and babies. This paper describes the development and design of the SEA-ORCHID intervention plan using a logical framework approach.


SEA-ORCHID used a before-and-after design to evaluate the impact of a multifaceted tailored intervention at nine sites across Thailand, Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, supported by three centres in Australia. We used a logical framework approach to systematically prepare and summarise the project plan in a clear and logical way. The development and design of the SEA-ORCHID project was based around the three components of a logical framework (problem analysis, project plan and evaluation strategy).


The SEA-ORCHID logical framework defined the project's goal and purpose (To improve the health of mothers and babies in South East Asia and To improve clinical practice in reproductive health in South East Asia), and outlined a series of project objectives and activities designed to achieve these. The logical framework also established outcome and process measures appropriate to each level of the project plan, and guided project work in each of the participating countries and hospitals.


Development of a logical framework in the SEA-ORCHID project enabled a reasoned, logical approach to the project design that ensured the project activities would achieve the desired outcomes and that the evaluation plan would assess both the process and outcome of the project. The logical framework was also valuable over the course of the project to facilitate communication, assess progress and build a shared understanding of the project activities, purpose and goal.