CHEPSAA publishes capacity assessment guidance and tools
The Consortium for Health Policy and Systems Analysis in Africa (CHEPSAA) today published detailed guidance on how to go about conducting health policy and systems research (HPSR) capacity assessments.
This publication, entitled How to Do Capacity Assessments for Health Policy and Systems Research in University Settings: A Handbook, is specifically focused on the capacity of research units within universities, but is also likely to be useful to others who work in the field of HPSR, including researchers in government, semi-autonomous organisations and non-governmental organisations.
"This is a how-to reference text for academics and researchers working in health policy and systems analysis. It shows how to develop tools, carry out the assessment and analyse results. We advocate a collaborative and semi-structured approach that includes elements of self-assessment to help build a capacity strengthening strategy suitable for different contexts and organisational goals," explained Dr Gillian Lê, lead author of the document and research fellow at the Nuffield Centre for International Health and Development at the University of Leeds.
This guidance draws on CHEPSAA's experience of implementing a capacity asset and needs assessment. Dr Lê and her colleagues from the University of Leeds led the methodology development and analysis of the CHEPSAA assessment, while the assessment approach and tools were implemented by CHEPSAA's seven partners in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa. Two peer-reviewed articles have been published based on this assessment: one detailing the empirical findings and the other covering the methodology and implementation lessons.
The document comprises chapters on designing capacity assessments, collecting the necessary information, analysing the data and using the results of the assessments. An interesting conclusion is that capacity assessments should not only be viewed as planning tools because their implementation already begins to strengthen capacity and to increase awareness around the issues of focus included in the assessments. In addition, this guidance document contains a variety of tools, including:
- Themes and questions relevant to the assessment of HPSR capacity;
- A document review template;
- A template for a survey;
- Guides for interviews and focus groups; and
- Documents that could be used in ethical review processes.
"While this document will not provide an off-the-shelf assessment protocol to import into different settings, it will provide guidance on overall assessment design whenever in the capacity strengthening process readers want to use it, highlight practical issues to remember throughout all the stages of doing a capacity assessment and suggest contents and methods in the assessments that others might conduct," said Dr Lê.
Click here to download the full document.