Article

Measuring sustainability as a programming tool for health sector investments: report from a pilot sustainability assessment in five Nepalese health districts

Macro International Inc., Calverton, MD, USA.
International Journal of Health Planning and Management (Impact Factor: 0.97). 10/2009; 24(4):326-50. DOI: 10.1002/hpm.1012
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Sustainability is a critical determinant of scale and impact of health sector development assistance programs. Working with USAID/Nepal implementing partners, we adapted a sustainability assessment framework to help USAID test how an evaluation tool could inform its health portfolio management. The essential first process step was to define the boundaries of the local system being examined. This local system-the unit of analysis of the study-was defined as the health district.We developed a standardized set of assessment tools to measure 53 indicators. Data collection was carried out over 4 weeks by a Nepalese agency. Scaling and combining indicators into six component indices provided a map of progress toward sustainable maternal, child, health, and family planning results for the five districts included in this pilot study, ranked from "no sustainability" to "beginning of sustainability."We conclude that systematic application of the Sustainability Framework could improve the health sector investment decisions of development agencies. It could also give districts an information base on which to build autonomy and accountability. The ability to form and test hypotheses about the sustainability of outcomes under various funding strategies-made possible by this approach-will be a prerequisite for more efficiently meeting the global health agenda.

Full-text

Available from: Jim Ricca, Jun 03, 2015
0 Followers
 · 
86 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A better understanding of mis-implementation in public health (ending effective programs and policies or continuing ineffective ones) may provide important information for decision makers. The purpose of this study is to describe the frequency and patterns in mis-implementation of programs in state and local health departments in the U.S. A cross-sectional study of 944 public health practitioners was conducted. The sample included state (n=277) and local health department employees (n=398) and key partners from other agencies (n=269). Data were collected from October 2013 through June 2014 (analyzed in May through October 2014). Online survey questions focused on ending programs that should continue, continuing programs that should end, and reasons for endings. Among state health department employees, 36.5% reported that programs often or always end that should have continued, compared with 42.0% of respondents in local health departments and 38.3% of respondents working in other agencies. In contrast to ending programs that should have continued, 24.7% of state respondents reported programs often or always continuing when they should have ended, compared to 29.4% for local health departments and 25% of respondents working in other agencies. Certain reasons for program endings differed at the state versus local level (e.g., policy support, support from agency leadership), suggesting that actions to address mis-implementation are likely to vary. The current data suggest a need to focus on mis-implementation in public health practice in order to make the best use of scarce resources. Copyright © 2015 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    American journal of preventive medicine 05/2015; 48(5):543-51. DOI:10.1016/j.amepre.2014.11.015 · 4.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background Health systems strengthening is becoming a key component of development agendas for low-income countries worldwide. Systems thinking emphasizes the role of diverse stakeholders in designing solutions to system problems, including sustainability. The objective of this paper is to compare the definition and use of sustainability indicators developed through the Sustainability Analysis Process in two rehabilitation sectors, one in Nepal and one in Somaliland, and analyse the contextual factors (including the characteristics of system stakeholder networks) influencing the use of sustainability data. Methods Using the Sustainability Analysis Process, participants collectively clarified the boundaries of their respective systems, defined sustainability, and identified sustainability indicators. Baseline indicator data was gathered, where possible, and then researched again 2 years later. As part of the exercise, system stakeholder networks were mapped at baseline and at the 2-year follow-up. We compared stakeholder networks and interrelationships with baseline and 2-year progress toward self-defined sustainability goals. Using in-depth interviews and observations, additional contextual factors affecting the use of sustainability data were identified. Results Differences in the selection of sustainability indicators selected by local stakeholders from Nepal and Somaliland reflected differences in the governance and structure of the present rehabilitation system. At 2 years, differences in the structure of social networks were more marked. In Nepal, the system stakeholder network had become more dense and decentralized. Financial support by an international organization facilitated advancement toward self-identified sustainability goals. In Somaliland, the small, centralised stakeholder network suffered a critical rupture between the system’s two main information brokers due to competing priorities and withdrawal of international support to one of these. Progress toward self-defined sustainability was nil. Conclusions The structure of the rehabilitation system stakeholder network characteristics in Nepal and Somaliland evolved over time and helped understand the changing nature of relationships between actors and their capacity to work as a system rather than a sum of actors. Creating consensus on a common vision of sustainability requires additional system-level interventions such as identification of and support to stakeholders who promote systems thinking above individual interests.
    Health Research Policy and Systems 08/2014; 12(1):46. DOI:10.1186/1478-4505-12-46 · 1.86 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: There is general agreement amongst major international policy makers that sustainability is a key component of health interventions in developing countries. However, there is little evidence on the factors enabling or constraining sustainability. Diffusion of innovation theory can help explain how the continuation of activities is related to the attributes of innovations. Innovations are characterised by five attributes: (i) relative advantage; (ii) compatibility; (iii) complexity; (iv) triability; and (v) observability. An eye care programme was selected as a case study. The programme was implemented in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana and had been funded over a ten-year period by an international organisation. Sustainability in the study was defined as the level of continuation of activities after the end of international funding. Measuring the continuation of activities involved checking whether each eye care activity continued (i.e. out-patient consultation, cataract surgery, outreach, school health, and statistics) or was interrupted after the end of Swiss Red Cross funding the 11 district hospitals where the programme was implemented. The results showed a relationship between the level of sustainability and the attributes of every activity. The activities with the lowest score for the attributes were less sustained. School health screening was the least sustained activity after the end of international funding. This activity also held the smallest score in terms of attributes: they were the most incompatible and most complex activities, as well as the least triable and observable activities, amongst the four district activities. In contrast, compared to the three other district activities, facility-based consultations were more likely to be routinised because they were perceived by the hospital managers as very compatible, and not complex. Using diffusion of innovations theories can help predict the sustainability of specific activities within a health programme. The study also highlighted the need for disentangling the various components of a health programme in order to identify which activities are more likely to be continued within a health system. The same methodology could be used in a different setting and could help predict which innovations are more likely to be adopted and maintained over time.
    BMC Health Services Research 02/2014; 14(1):77. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-14-77 · 1.66 Impact Factor