The frameworks and methods used for analysis, monitoring and evaluation of communicable disease control vary greatly. Although a number of manuals exist instruments for a detailed analysis of wider health system context are lacking. This is surprising given that the success of vertical programmes is often determined by the constraints of health systems. The importance of the context and the health system in determining the successful implementation of national tuberculosis programmes is well recognized by the WHO, which recommends analysis of national tuberculosis programmes within the context of health care system, health reform and the economic status of the country. However, current approaches inadequately capture intelligence on the health systems variables impacting on programme efficacy, limiting the ability of policy makers to draw lessons for wider use. A recent WHO report highlights the major systemic constraints to DOTS implementation and recommends a comprehensive and multi-sectoral approach to tuberculosis control. This obviates the need for tools that take into account health systems issues as well as focusing on a particular vertical programme but no such comprehensive tool exists. This paper outlines the conceptual basis for a model and a toolkit for rapid assessment, monitoring, and evaluation of the context, the elements of the health system and vertical communicable disease programme. It describes the framework, the potential strengths and weaknesses, approach and piloting of the toolkit and its two elements: first for ‘horizontal assessment’ of the health system within which the programme is embedded and second for ‘vertical assessment’ of the infectious disease-specific programme.
Atun, R.A.; Lennox-Chhugani, N.; Drobniewski, F.; Samyshkin, Y.A.; Coker, R.J. A framework and toolkit for capturing the communicable disease programmes within health systems: Tuberculosis control as an illustrative example. European Journal of Public Health (2004) 14 (3) 267-273. [DOI: 10.1093/eurpub/14.3.267]