The Avahan transition: Effects of transition readiness on program institutionalization and sustained outcomes

Sachiko Ozawa, Suneeta Singh, Kriti Singh, Vibha Chhabra, Sara Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: With declines in development assistance for health and growing interest in country ownership, donors are increasingly faced with the task of transitioning health programs to local actors towards a path to sustainability. Yet there is little available guidance on how to measure and evaluate the success of a transition and its subsequent effects. This study assesses the transition of the Avahan HIV/AIDS prevention program in India to investigate how preparations for transition affected continuation of program activities post-transition. Methods: Two rounds of two surveys were conducted and supplemented by data from government and Avahan Computerized Management Information Systems (CMIS). Exploratory factor analysis was used to develop two measures: 1) transition readiness pre-transition, and 2) institutionalization (i.e. integration of initial program systems into organizational procedures and behaviors) post-transition. A fixed effects model was built to examine changes in key program delivery outcomes over time. An ordinary least square regression was used to assess the relationship between transition readiness and sustainability of service outcomes both directly, and indirectly through institutionalization. Results: Transition readiness data revealed 3 factors (capacity, alignment and communication), on a 15-item scale with adequate internal consistency (alpha 0.73). Institutionalization was modeled as a unidimensional construct, and a 12-item scale demonstrated moderate internal consistency (alpha 0.60). Coverage of key populations and condom distribution were sustained compared to pre-transition levels (p<0.01). Transition readiness, but not institutionalization, predicted sustained outcomes post-transition. Transition readiness did not necessarily lead to institutionalization of key program elements one year after transition. Conclusion: Greater preparedness prior to transition is important to achieve better service delivery outcomes post-transition. This paper illustrates a methodology to measure transition readiness pre-transition to identify less ready organizations or program components in advance, improving the likelihood of service sustainability. Further research is needed around the conceptualization and development of measures of institutionalization and its effects on long-term program sustainability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0158659
JournalPloS one
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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