Using mini-surveys to evaluate community health programmes

Nasek K. Nosseir, James Mccarthy, Duff G. Gillespie, Farida Shah

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A community-based integrated health, family planning and social services programme in rural Egypt included, among other things, the distribution of oral rehydration salts (ORS) on a large scale. Since there was no prior experience of such a distribution in this area, an evaluation plan was developed specifically to provide rapid feedback through a series of mini-surveys. The mini-surveys were particularly valuable since the distribution of both ORS and contraceptives was staggered over a three year period, with three counties of Menoufia Governorate covered in the first year, three in the second and two in the third. Project officials were able to analyse one year's efforts in time to plan for the following year. Four different approaches to the distribution of oral rehydration salts were tried. Three months after each type of distribution took place, a mini-survey was conducted in the area targeted for the distribution. Results of the mini-surveys were analysed within two months of each survey, allowing programme officials ample time to consider the results and modify the delivery approach prior to the beginning of the subsequent rounds of programme activity. All four approaches were about equally successful in reaching the women in the villages and in communicating information. However, there were some negative reactions to the ORS distribution in the first three approaches. The last approach was the most successful, with many more women reporting that they would administer the treatment and, among those who would not, only a small percentage feeling that the treatment was harmful. These mini-surveys were very useful in quickly providing quantitative information on the manner in which women were reacting to the programme. However, mini-surveys would not be appropriate if project officials were interested in detailed characterization of women who correctly used oral rehydration salts or of women who felt the treatment would harm children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-74
Number of pages8
JournalHealth policy and planning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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