Open Access Study protocol

Optimising reproductive and child health outcomes by building evidence-based research and practice in South East Asia (SEA-ORCHID): study protocol

David J Henderson-Smart1, Pisake Lumbiganon2, Mario R Festin3, Jacqueline J Ho4, Hakimi Mohammad5, Steve J McDonald6, Sally Green6, Caroline A Crowther7* and the SEA-ORCHID Study Group

Author Affiliations

1 NSW Centre for Perinatal Health Services Research, Queen Elizabeth ll Research Institute, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, 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 Australasian Cochrane Centre, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC 3168, Australia

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

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BMC Medical Research Methodology 2007, 7:43  doi:10.1186/1471-2288-7-43

Published: 24 September 2007



Disorders related to pregnancy and childbirth are a major health issue in South East Asia. They represent one of the biggest health risk differentials between the developed and developing world. Our broad research question is: Can the health of mothers and babies in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia be improved by increasing the local capacity for the synthesis of research, implementation of effective interventions, and identification of gaps in knowledge needing further research?


The project is a before-after study which planned to benefit from and extend existing regional and international networks. Over five years the project was designed to comprise five phases; pre-study, pre-intervention, intervention, outcome assessment and reporting/dissemination. The study was proposed to be conducted across seven project nodes: four in South East Asia and three in Australia. Each South East Asian study node was planned to be established within an existing department of obstetrics and gynaecology or neonatology and was intended to form the project coordinating centre and focus for evidence-based practice activities within that region. Nine hospitals in South East Asia planned to participate, representing a range of clinical settings. The three project nodes in Australia were intended to provide project support.

The intervention was planned to consist of capacity-strengthening activities targeted at three groups: generators of evidence, users of evidence and teachers of evidence. The primary outcome was established as changes in adherence to recommended clinical practices from baseline to completion of the project and impact on health outcomes.


The SEA-ORCHID project was intended to improve care during pregnancy and the perinatal period of mothers and their babies in South East Asia. The possible benefits extend beyond this however, as at the end of this project there is hoped to be an existing network of South East Asian researchers and health care providers with the capacity to generalise this model to other health priority areas. It is anticipated that this project facilitate ongoing development of evidence-based practice and policy in South East Asia through attracting long-term funding, expansion into other hospitals and community-based care and the establishment of nodes in other countries.