Case Synopsis

This case attempts to help students understand the various terminologies (“frameworks”, “pathways”, “models”, etc.) used by organizations in planning, implementing, and evaluating programs and interventions. It is based on the work done by the Center for Global Health at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto on the Knowledge Management Initiative (KMI) of the Muskoka Initiative Consortium (MIC). The case starts by reprising the Muskoka I and II Initiatives, and then focuses on the global context before narrowing down to programs and interventions for maternal health in Mali.

Case Objectives

  1. Understand conceptual frameworks and models (e.g. logic models, structural equation models, directed acyclic graphs, etc.), with an emphasis on the similarities and differences.
  2. Understand the usability of a framework when planning, implementing, and evaluating programs or interventions in maternal health care.
  3. To develop a framework to improve maternal health care in Mali.

Case Study Questions

  1. What are conceptual frameworks?
    a. What are different types of such frameworks?
    b. What are similarities and differences between possible frameworks?
  2. What is the problem or situation with respect to maternal health in Mali?
    a. Why does the problem exist? What are some issues creating this problem?
    b. What is the long term goal?
    c. What needs to be changed? What are some immediate (short term) and intermediate (medium term) outcomes?
    d. What specific actions and activities can affect change at the immediate outcome level?
    e. Are there any other factors that need to be considered that might have an effect on the outcomes and activities?
    f. How are you going to measure outcomes? What indicators will you use to assess the effectiveness of the program at the immediate, intermediate, and ultimate outcome level?


conceptual framework, maternal health, Mali, program evaluation.

Additional Author Information

Rupinder Chera, MD, MPH

Stanley Zlotkin, MD, PhD,, Professor, Chief: Global Child Health Hospital for Sick Children

Amardeep Thind, MD, PhD, Professor



Recommended Citation

Chera, R., Zlotkin, S., Thind, A. (2015). Understanding and Developing Conceptual Frameworks and Causal Models in Maternal and Child Health Programming in: Speechley, M., & Terry, A.L. [eds] Western Public Health Casebook 2015. London, ON: Public Health Casebook Publishing.