There’s a lot of guff written about monitoring and evaluation systems. In reality, at least in the field of public health, they usually consist of a set of indicators designed to meet the needs of programme funders. These indicators often have limited relevance to the local situation, and are very rarely useful in understanding how programmes are performing, or how they could do better.
Since indicators are the order of the day, it does, however, make sense to try and standardise them so that countries and programmes are not required to measure different things for different funders. Hence guidelines such as these:
National AIDS Programmes: a Guide to Monitoring and Evaluation (.pdf 380 kb) UNAIDS/MEASURE Evaluation, Chapel Hill NC, 2000
Dated and biased towards the needs of sub-Saharan Africa, this guide nonetheless contains some useful background material. The product of a global effort to bring together the needs of developing countries and donors in tracking the success of AIDS prevention and care programmes. The guide discusses the most rational use of resources in creating a co-ordinated monitoring and evaluation system. It reviews measurement challenges and proposes indicators appropriate to different epidemic states.
Monitoring for programme improvement
More useful, perhaps, are guidelines that try to provide a framework within which locally relevant programme data can be analysed to meet the information needs of programme managers, so that adjustments can be made and services improved. Attempts at this include:
DRAFT: Back to Basics. A resource manual for planning and tracking effective HIV prevention efforts in adults (.doc 700k) World Health Organisation.
This is a DRAFT for field testing, not an official WHOdocument.
A short DRAFT manual that helps HIV prevention programme managers to understand which populations are most likely to be exposed to HIV in the local situation, and which prevention programme elements would do most to reduce that exposure. The draft manual comes with a spreadsheet for calculating exposure (.xls), and step by step instructions for using the spreadsheet (.doc). This manual is being field tested, and feedback is actively welcomed.
Guidelines for the effective use of data from surveillance systems (.pdf 579 kb) WHO/UNAIDS, Geneva, 2003
Part of the WHO/UNAIDS series of technical guidelines for HIV surveillance, this document gives guidance on how to use the output of national surveillance systems for advocacy, programme planning and monitoring and evaluation. It contains practical advice on data presentation and the packaging of data into compelling and actionable messages for different audiences, including politicians, affected populations and the press.
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