Introduction: India accounted for more neonatal deaths (estimated at 696 000) than any other country, as of 2015. Of these, most neonatal deaths due to infections can be attributed to pneumonia which accounts for 16% of all neonatal mortalities (2010). Despite simple, inexpensive case management strategies being available, pneumonia continues to cause significant mortality and morbidity among neonates. Understanding the perceptions and experiences of stakeholders of neonatal care can help find solutions to barriers to care and design tailored strategies for controlling neonatal pneumonia. Methods and analysis: A pan-India qualitative study will be conducted. Participants include healthcare providers, programme officers, academicians, representatives of non-governmental organisations/bilateral agencies and policy makers. They will be recruited purposively from rural and urban, public and private, and facility and community healthcare settings across six Indian regions. Within each region, a minimum of one state will be selected. Districts will be based on neonatal mortality indicators, and will be subject to feasibility at the time of conducting the study. We plan to conduct in-depth interviews (IDI) and focus group discussions focusing on (a) burden, (b) risk factors, (c) case management, (d) treatment guidelines, (e) barriers to case management, (f) recommendations. The number of interviews will depend on the information saturation. Interviews will be audio-recorded with prior written consent and transcribed verbatim. Principles of thematic analysis will be applied for qualitative data analysis using R package for Qualitative Data Analysis (RQDA). Ethics and dissemination: The protocol has been approved by the Health Ministry Screening Committee, Government of India and the Institutional Ethics Committee at the host institution. Confidentiality and privacy of the participants will be maintained. The findings of the study will be shared with all stakeholders of this research including the participants. Knowledge dissemination workshops will be conducted to ultimately transfer the evidence tailored to the stakeholders' need.
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