Friday, May 25, 2012

[EQ] Defining and assessing evidence for the effectiveness of technical assistance in furthering global health

Defining and assessing evidence for the effectiveness of technical assistance in furthering global health

Gary R. West, Sheila P. Clapp, E. Megan Davidson Averill & Willard Cates Jr.
FHI 360, Durham, NC, USA
Global Public Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, DOI:10.1080/17441692.2012.682075
21 May 2012

Available online:

“…. In an era when health resources are increasingly constrained, international organisations are transitioning from directly managing health services to providing technical assistance (TA) to in-country owners of public health programmes.

We define technical assistance TA as: ‘A dynamic, capacity-building process for designing or improving the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of specific programmes, research, services, products, or systems’. TA can build sustainable capacities, strengthen health systems and support country ownership.

However, our assessment of published evaluations found limited evidence for its effectiveness. We summarise socio-behavioural theories relevant to technical assistance TA, review published evaluations and describe skills required for TA providers. We explore challenges to providing TA including cost effectiveness, knowledge management and sustaining TA systems.

Lastly, we outline recommendations for structuring global TA systems. Considering its important role in global health, more rigorous evaluations of TA efforts should be given high priority.


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