A Field Evaluation of Tools to Assess the Availability of Essential Health Services in Disrupted Health Systems: Evidence from Haiti and Sudan

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Title: A Field Evaluation of Tools to Assess the Availability of Essential Health Services in Disrupted Health Systems: Evidence from Haiti and Sudan
Authors: Nickerson, Jason W.
Date: 2014
Abstract: Background: This thesis presents three research papers that evaluate the current tools and methods used to assess the availability of health resources and services during humanitarian emergencies. Methods: A systematic review of peer-reviewed and grey literature was conducted to locate all known health facilities assessment tools currently in use in low- and middle-income countries. The results of this review were used to generate a framework of essential health facilities assessment domains, representative of seven health systems building blocks. Using this framework, a field-based evaluation of tools used to assess the availability of health resources and services in emergencies in Haiti and the Darfur states of Sudan was conducted. The collected assessment tools from these countries were compared against the framework from the systematic review, as well as the Minimum Standards for Health Action in the Sphere Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response, and the Global Health Cluster’s Set of Core Indicators and Benchmarks by Category. A coding system was developed using all of these frameworks that enabled the comparison of the assessments collected in both countries. Field-based interviews were conducted with key informants using a convergent interviewing methodology, to gain perspectives on data collection and the use of evidence in formulating health systems interventions in emergencies. Results: 10 health facility assessments were located in the systematic review of the literature, generating an assessment framework comprised of 41 assessment domains. Of the included assessments, none contained assessment criteria corresponding to all 41 domains, suggesting a need to standardize these assessments based on a structured health systems framework. In Haiti and Sudan, a total of 9 (Haiti, n=8; Sudan, n=1) different assessment tools were located that corresponded to assessments of the availability of health resources and services. Of these, few collected data that could reasonably have corresponded to the different assessment domains of the health facilities assessment framework or the Sphere Standards, nor could many have provided the necessary inputs for calculating the Global Health Cluster’s indicators or benchmarks. The exception to this was the one tool located in Sudan, which fared reasonably well against these criteria. The interviews with participants revealed that while evidence was viewed as important, systematically-collected data were not routinely being integrated into program planning in emergency settings. This was, in part, due to the absence of reliable information or the perceived weaknesses of the data available, but also due uncertainty as to how to best integrate large amounts of health system data into programs. Conclusions: Greater emphasis is needed to ensure that data on the availability and functionality of health services during major emergencies is collected using methodologically-sound approaches, by field staff with expertise in health systems. There is a need to ensure that baseline data on the health system is available at the outside of emergency response, and that humanitarian health interventions are based on reliable evidence of needs and capacities from within the health system.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/30373
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-5701
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -
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