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Innovating in Design: Evidence for Impact in Health

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Kenya conference logoInnovating in Design: Evidence for Impact in Health
Cape Town, South Africa
December 10–14, 2012
TTL Q&A teleconference is scheduled for Thursday November, 15 at 9:30am EST. Read the TTL information note.

The Africa Region Health, Nutrition, and Population Units (AFTHE and AFTHW), the Development Impact Evaluation Initiative (DIME), the Human Development Network (HDN), and the Development Economics Research Group (DECRG) are organizing an innovative workshop to pilot a new approach to linking evidence with health project design in Africa. Innovating in Design: Evidence for Impact in Health will be held at the Protea Fire & Ice! Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa, from December 10–14, 2012.

TTL Q&A teleconference is scheduled for Thursday November, 15 at 9:30am EST. Read the TTL information note.

The workshop will help teams to incorporate the latest evidence from rigorous impact evaluations into project design and implementation, and to leverage project design and implementation as a learning tool produce state-of-the-art evidence. The workshop has the following objectives:

  • Provide new evidence on mechanisms that can improve health project effectiveness. The workshop will feature a well-structured collection of evidence which can be adopted and operationalized in your project to improve its impact on the ground. Clinics will be held to link researchers and practitioners with project teams to discuss the incorporation of this evidence in each specific project context..
  • Assist teams in developing impact evaluations to improve project effectiveness and further expand our knowledge of health project design and implementation. The workshop will provide basic training on impact evaluation methods, including experimental and non-experimental designs. The workshop will develop preliminary concept notes (or enhance existing ones where they already exist), which will become the basis of a program of technical assistance to incorporate impact evaluation into the project..

The workshop agenda comprises four main types of session:

  1. Panels. These sessions will be structured as a conversation between a number of presenters who will discuss the practical relevance of innovation, research, and economics in health policy and programming.
  2. Methods. These sessions will introduce workshop participants to impact evaluation methods, and discuss implementing impact evaluations in practice.
  3. Mechanisms. These sessions will present evidence from rigorous impact evaluations, focusing on the information, motivation, and ability mechanisms on both the demand and supply sides of health systems.
  4. Clinics. These sessions will pair each country team with a dedicated facilitator to discuss the relevance of the material presented at the workshop in the context of each project. Teams will consider which specific mechanisms can best improve the effectiveness of their project, and may choose to begin work on an impact evaluation to test specific mechanisms or other innovations to create project-specific actionable evidence to improve project impacts. This preliminary work will then become the basis for a program of technical assistance for the implementation of the impact evaluations.

All teams will make a short presentation of their work on Thursday, December 13.

The workshop content is structured around pre-identified mechanisms that interact on demand/supply sides to produce good health outcomes.

Mechanisms are the underlying factors that facilitate or deter human behavior in markets, including healthcare markets. Evidence to be presented at the workshop is structured around three categories of mechanism — information, motivation, and ability — which are relevant to both demand and supply sides. These categories of mechanism are present at the various points of interaction between producers and consumers of health services which are required for quality health services and improved health outcomes.

Briefly, information refers to the knowledge that consumers and producers of health services have at each point of interaction. Motivation, then, is what is required to translate that information into action. Finally, ability dictates whether or not action can be carried out successfully. By identifying the constraints to information, motivation, and ability on both demand and supply sides at each point of interaction, we can begin to isolate key bottlenecks within the healthcare market. We can then target these with specific activities which, though small in relation to a project as a whole, may have big implications on our overall ability to achieve target outcomes.

For example, if we identify motivation on either the demand or the supply side of clinic visits as an impediment to achieving positive final health outcomes, at any of the points of interaction between the consumers and the producers of these services, we can begin to think about the kinds of specific mechanisms we may put in place to address this bottleneck. Incentives, financial or non-financial, can be the solution. Research shows that providing incentives to households to seek formal healthcare services (demand side incentives) or to health workers to improve their performance (supply side incentives) are very effective. Using the above framework, we can identify the specific points in the causal chain which are preventing the system as a whole from realizing its potentials, and introduce innovations to address these. These innovations can then translate into large impacts on our final outcomes of interest.

Health Diagram

Health Diagram









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