Thematic Areas of Research

Maternal, Reproductive-Family Planning and Child Health

Investing in effective MNCH and FP programs saves lives, reduces maternal-child morbidity and mortality and is cost-effective strategy (value for money) for resource-constrained governments, planners and donors. RADS has worked with local and global partners to develop and monitor MNCH and FP programs that empower women/couples to make informed reproductive health choices, increase access to doorstep FP services, reduce demand-supply side barriers, and increase coverage in hard-to-reach populations with childhood vaccination and nutritional deficiencies. From training of vaccinator staff to business models of community midwives and health care providers, RADS has worked with partners to identify challenges and provide actionable solutions.


Increasing 95% or greater immunization coverage is a crucial step towards achieving childhood health and well-being (SDG-3) with recognized effects on reducing high fertility rates as well. Pakistan is one of the only two countries with polio persistence and sporadic breakouts. RADS has worked closely with Federal and Provincial government and donors (JSI, GAVI, UNICEF) in exploring common myths and misperceptions, impact evaluations of EPI programs, conducted behavioral research on reasons for vaccination avoidance and hesitancy, and designed technology-platforms to track movements of vaccinators for increasing efficiency.


Pakistan ranks 94 amongst 117 countries according to the 2019 Global Hunger Index and with 33% low birth weight and 44% stunting (National Nutrition Survey 2020). According to the GHI 2019, little progress has been made in 3/5 key indicators (maternal anemia, low birth weight, under 5 wasting and stunting), with a concerning absence of data in some of these key indicators. Working with our urban communities (via the Urban Research and Implementation Laboratory Rawalpindi) RADS has tested out innovative means of reducing macro-micro deficiencies in nutrition. With partners RADS has conducted multi-district national surveys for nutritional situational analysis and gaps. Currently RADS is working with the MoNHSRC to enhance available data streams to better capture results from nutritional interventions.

HIV Prevention and Health Systems Strengthening

Pakistan has traditional high-risk group concentrated and low general population prevalence HIV epidemic. However, with the risks of unsafe infection control practices and high rates of syringe re-use, Pakistan is at tremendous risk of mini-outbreaks in unpredictable localities and populations. Additionally fragmented health services delivery, inherent biases and sexual taboos with HIV, and poor information flows limit HIV Prevention and Treatment Programs. RADS worked with the National and Provincial AIDS Control Programs, UNAIDS, UNICEF to develop the Monitoring & Evaluation Framework and the nationwide Treatment and MTCT programs (2007-2018) and has conducted repeated evaluations for coverage and limitations.

Women’s Economic Engagement, Equality and Gender Based Violence

Pakistan’s record on gender equality and women’s engagement in labor force are relative poor compared to our regional neighbors (Gender Gap Index 2021). Driven by pervasive socio-cultural norms and patriarchal structures women are frequently excluded from participation in decision-making, their basic human rights, and choices and subjected to GBV. Working with donors and government partners, RADS has conducted national surveys and research on mechanisms to enhance women’s inclusion, reduce GBV, create supportive ecosystem, tested out economic incentive models of women’s entrepreneurship, and studied institutional-legal-policy constraints.

Cost-Benefit Analysis and Economic Incentivization

In resource-limited settings, programs and policies have to be prioritized for maximum yield. RADS works with policy and decision makers to review program designs, impacts, outcomes and measure processes, resources, and sustainability. Using globally recognized methodologies (combining both research and economic/econometric assessment tools) we help decision makers achieve the highest value for money and resource investments.