Appropriate goals?

3 July, 2008

This July the Guardian Katine website is focusing on health issues

The lead page on health issues includes a list of AMREF’s health goals. There are also links to AMREFs goals in other sectors: Water, Education, Livelihoods and Governance.

The health goals are:

• Train vaccinators
• Distribute malaria nets
• Train birth attendants
• Improve labs
• Diagnosis training
• Improve drug supply
• Train and supply volunteer village health teams

These are very activity focused objectives, to do with what AMREF , government staff and volunteers will be doing.

For a development program there should be much more focus on the intended outcomes, concerning changes in Katine peoples lives that are expected to happen as a result of these activities, within the three year period of the Katine project. Richard Kavuma’s recent posting on the Guardian website, about Katine people’s expectations about what needs to change in their lives, shows how powerful these sorts of people focused statements can be.

And will any level of improvement in people’s lives be sufficient? Normally it would be expected that some realistic targets would be set, ideally through the involvement of local stakeholders

For example:

By doing these activities…
...achieve these outcomes (examples only)
Train vaccinators Increase the percentage of children under 5 years who have been immunised, from x to y by the end of 2010
Distribute malaria nets Increase the percentage of children sleeping under bed nets, from x to y % by the end of 2010
Train birth attendants Increase the percentage of babies delivered by trained birth attendants, from x to y % by the end of 2010
Improve labs Increase the range of diagnostic tests that visitors to health centers are able to receive on the day of their visit, from x to y % by the end of 2010
Diagnosis training Reduce the number of “false negative” malaria test results of visitors to health centres, from x to y % by the end of 2010
Improve drug supply All listed “essential drugs” are available to health centre visitors at least 26 days in every month, by the end of 2010
Train and supply volunteer village health teams 90% of all village health teams are providing services to households in their villages at least x days per month, by the end of 2010

If these activity oriented health goals have been poorly summarised by the Guardian, then AMREF should be asking for appropriate changes to be made. If they are a direct copy and paste from AMREF documents then AMREF needs to review and revise them, and then notify the Guardian to make the necessary changes.

In my July 2008 visit to Katine I will be looking at what goals and targets have been set, and by whom (see my ToRs). If these are not clearly defined then it will be very difficult to assess the achievements of the Katine project, other than to say there have been a lot of activities. The people of Katine, and individual donors in the UK are likely to be expecting more than this.

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One Response to “Appropriate goals?”


  1. […] the extended form of his blog to debate a number of interesting development issues, such as project aims and goals, openness of implementers and the jargon of […]


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