|Selecting Reproductive Health Indicators: A Guide for District Managers (WHO - OMS, 1997, 36 p.)|
Over the last few years there has been a huge amount of work on the development of reproductive health indicators, particularly since the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in 1994. Many of these initiatives have generated compilations of indicators without any clear description of how selection criteria were used. Demand for indicators has generally outstripped the supply of necessary data and few developing countries have the data generation capabilities required to report on many of the indicators currently defined for monitoring reproductive health status and progress.
At the local level it has been recommended that countries should select indicators most appropriate to their needs and capacity for data collection (Graham and Macfarlane, 1997). In a context defined by a general shortage of health information, particularly at community level, the proliferation of reproductive health indicators is a matter of concern to the extent that it tends to impose unwelcome reporting burdens on national data collection systems. The indicators proposed are not necessarily appropriate or feasible, and often result in unrealistic requirements for data collection, particularly at a district level.
Concern about the proliferation of indicators and their implications at national level led WHO to initiate a series of activities designed to strengthen national capacities to identify and generate reproductive health indicators. As a first step in the work, in May 1996, WHO convened an informal meeting bringing together technical experts in the field of reproductive health indicators with national health managers who have particular responsibilities in monitoring and evaluating reproductive health programmes. A first outcome of the meeting was the development of this short guide for national and district level programme managers and health planners to assist them in selecting which indicators they will monitor from the vast array currently proposed. This guide lists a series of criteria which should be applied to any indicator before it is selected for monitoring.