First read Case Study 12.1 to help you think about community needs.
Case Study 12.1 Tigist
Ms Tigist is a Health Extension Practitioner. She has been working for three years in a village called Burka. She has conducted a needs assessment in order to develop an appropriate health education plan. During the needs assessment, Ms Tigist identified that malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation (FGM), were prevalent problems in the village. In addition, she identified that many community members did not know the causes of these problems, or any methods of prevention. For example, many young people did not like to use condoms, and many households did not use bed nets properly due to lack of knowledge. Ms Tigist also identified that many households did not own bed nets.
During a needs assessment, you also need to identify the resources available in the community, such as labour power. This would include finding out about the help that community leaders and volunteers could give, and the local materials and spaces in which to conduct health education sessions. When looking at community resources, you should include local information such as the number of people in each household, their ages and their economic characteristics. You would also include information on community groups and their impact on local health activities and communication networks.
Read Case Study 12.1 again, and then answer the questions below.
- Which categories of needs assessment has Ms Tigist conducted?
- List the problems Ms Tigist has identified in each of the categories of needs assessment.
a. Ms Tigist has undertaken a health needs assessment (look at Section 12.5.1 if you need to clarify this), and a resource needs assessment (see Section 12.5.2).
b. Problems identified in the health needs assessment showed that malaria, TB, HIV/AIDS and harmful traditional practices were prevalent, and that there is a lack of knowledge about causes and prevention methods for these problems. The main resource need identified was mosquito bed nets in some households.
If you identify malaria as a common health problem in your locality, what additional information would you need in order to plan and implement an appropriate intervention? You will find that looking at Section 12.5.2 again should help here. The important information you need to consider is the effect of current behaviours on the health problem you have chosen.
You should conduct a further assessment for this specific disease to identify the reasons why malaria is a problem in your locality. Knowing it is a problem is only the start. You may identify behavioural factors such as not using bed nets, not seeking timely treatment, or not clearing stagnant water around the dwellings. When all these behavioural factors have been identified, proper health education strategies can be developed to address them, including resources that are needed, and whether you can get them.