|Rapid Assessment Procedures: Qualitative Methodologies for Planning and Evaluation of Health Related Programmes (International Nutrition Foundation for Developing Countries - INFDC, 1992, 528 pages)|
|Section IV: Institutionalization of rapid assessment; procedures (RAP)|
|35. From qualitative community data collection to programme design: Health education planning in Niger|
By Judi Aubel, Mamadou Alzouma, Ibrahim Djabel,
Sani Ibrahim, and Boubacar Coulibaly
Judi Aubel works as a consultant in Dakar, Sénégal. El Hadj Mamadou Alzouma, Ibrahim Djabel, and Sani Ibrahim are affiliated with the Ministère de la Sante Publique, Niger. Boubacar Coulibaly is affiliated with the Projet de Sante Infantile, Zinder, Niger
When the project focus is health education as in this paper, few would question the need to develop a clear picture of community behavior, attitudes, and knowledge on the project focus, in this case, control of diarrhoea. But as the paper indicates, more than information and a baseline behavioral set was obtained. This systematic, step-by-step description of the use of RAP in planning a health education programme demonstrates both the potential for bringing programme planners into the community as well as involving the community itself as a source of useful input into programme strategies. The paper details a multi-stage planning process that includes a feedback loop to the community during the planning cycle. The approach described appears to be equally valid for a far wider range of programmes than those dealing with health education. - Eds.
THE QUALITY OF community health education programmes depends in part on the process used to develop such programmes. There is a need for indepth, qualitative community data to be collected prior to developing health education programmes. This is often not done by most ministries of health. Three other aspects of planning closely related to the quality of programmes are: who is involved in both preliminary data collection and in programme planning; the extent to which planners have had contact with the communities they are planning for; and whether programme development is viewed as a top-down, mechanical process or as an iterative, problem-solving process.
The significance of these four aspects of the planning process is discussed below. A health education programme planning exercise carried out in Zinder, Niger is described. The planning exercise had two parallel objectives. The first was to develop a health education strategy appropriate for the socio-cultural realities of the Hausa communities in the area A second was to introduce an innovative programme planning methodology into the regional health education department.