Qualitative research to make practical sense of sustainability in primary health care projects implemented by non-governmental organizations

Eric G. Sarriot, Peter John Winch, Leo J. Ryan, Jay Edison, Janice Bowie, Eric Swedberg, Rikki Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Sustainability continues to be a serious concern for Primary Health Care (PHC) interventions targeting the death of millions of children in developing countries each year. Our work with over 30 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) implementing USAID's Child Survival and Health Grants Program (CSHGP)-funded projects revealed the need for a study to develop a framework for sustainability assessment in these projects. We surveyed NGO informants and project managers through semi-structured interviews and questionnaires. This paper summarizes our study findings. The NGOs share key values about sustainability, but are skeptical about approaches perceived as disconnected from field reality. In their experience, sustainable achievementa occur through the interaction of capable local stakeholders and communities. This depends strongly on enabling conditions, which NGO projects should advance. Sustainability assessment is multidimensional, value-based and embeds health within a larger sustainable development perspective. It reduces, but does not eliminate, the unpredictability of long-term outcomes. It should start with the consideration of the 'local systems' which need to develop a common purpose. Our ability to address the complexity inherent to sustainability thinking rests with the validity of the models used to design interventions. A participant, qualitative research approach helped us make sense of sustainability in NGO field practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-22
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Health Planning and Management
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2004

Fingerprint

Qualitative Research
qualitative research
Primary Health Care
sustainability
Organizations
health care
United States Agency for International Development
project organization
Organized Financing
Conservation of Natural Resources
Developing Countries
research approach
health
grant
Values
Interviews
sustainable development
stakeholder
developing country
manager

Keywords

  • Evaluation
  • Governmental organizations
  • Primary health care
  • Qualitative research
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Health Policy

Cite this

Qualitative research to make practical sense of sustainability in primary health care projects implemented by non-governmental organizations. / Sarriot, Eric G.; Winch, Peter John; Ryan, Leo J.; Edison, Jay; Bowie, Janice; Swedberg, Eric; Welch, Rikki.

In: International Journal of Health Planning and Management, Vol. 19, No. 1, 01.2004, p. 3-22.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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