Long-term Capacity Building in Central America

Recent dissemination meetings in Costa Rica and Panama shared findings from secondary analyses of national sexual and reproductive health surveys. The findings in both countries are the result of long-term capacity building processes to promote secondary analysis of national health surveys.

Costa Rica Dissemination Meeting - CR Hoy Photo
Giovanni Melendez (USAID), Arodys Robles (Centro Centroamericano de Población), and Alain Norman (US Government) at the dissemination meeting in Costa Rica. Photo from crhoy.com.
Recent dissemination meetings in Costa Rica and Panama shared findings from secondary analyses of national sexual and reproductive health surveys. The findings in both countries are the result of long-term capacity-building processes to promote secondary analysis of national health surveys. A similar effort was previously carried out in Guatemala.

“National surveys traditionally had been a privileged niche reserved for a few persons,” said Giovanni Melendez, HIV Prevention Specialist with the USAID Regional HIV/AIDS Program in Central America. “The USAID HIV/AIDS Program in Central America made an effort to democratize and make accessible that space to a new group of health professionals in three countries of the region. Support of this capacity-building process brought new points of view, linkages with other fields and with that a reaffirmation about the holistic approach needed to work on HIV/AIDS issues in the region."

The capacity-building activities in all three countries involved in-person and long-distance technical assistance, including:

  • Initiating the process with a request for applications and selection of participants;
  • Conducting a planning workshop to develop analysis plans;
  • Completing a five-day Stata workshop followed by long-distance analysis support;
  • Conducting a workshop to review and interpret the results of the data analysis;
  • Working with the teams to develop research briefs; and
  • Presenting findings in a dissemination meeting.

Participants came from a variety of backgrounds and organizations, and they are likely to use the knowledge and skills gained to enhance their work and benefit their organizations.

In Costa Rica, the Central American Population Center at the University of Costa Rica implemented the capacity-building activities to promote secondary analysis of the 2010 Survey of Sexual and Reproductive Health, with technical assistance from MEASURE Evaluation. In Panama, the National AIDS Program and the Instituto Gorgas partnered with MEASURE Evaluation on a secondary analysis of the country’s 2009 National Sexual and Reproductive Health Survey.