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Measuring Health Program Effectiveness in the Field: An Assessment Tool

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 June 2012

Sharon M. McDonnell
Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences-Educational Programs, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
Abdiaziz S. Yassin
Division of International Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Wayne G. Brown
Coordinating Office for Global Health, Division of Epidemiology and Surveillance Capacity Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Helen N. Perry
Division of Emerging Infections and Surveillance Services, National Center for Prevention, Detection and Control of Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Stephen B. Thacker
Office of Workforce and Career Development, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA


To assist field workers in program evaluation and to explicitly discuss program strengths and weaknesses, a practical method to estimate the effectiveness of public health interventions within the existing program capacity was developed. The method and materials were tested in seven countries (Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, Guatemala, the Philippines, and Ghana). In this method, four core components are assessed using a questionnaire: (1) the efficacy of the intervention; (2) the level of existing human resources (i.e., quality of recruitment, training, and continuing education); (3) the infrastructure (i.e., supplies, salary, transportation, and supervision); and (4) the level of community support (i.e., access and demand). Using the assessment tool provided, program staff can determine if all necessary elements are in place for a successful program that can deliver the specific intervention. Based on the results of the assessment program, weaknesses can be identified, explicitly discussed, and addressed.The usefulness of this tool in humanitarian relief may be twofold: (1) to assess the design and implementation of effective programs; and (2) to highlight the inevitable need for capacity building as the disaster situation evolves.

Special Report
Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2007

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