The Power of Networks – A New Opportunity for Improving Global Health

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Author(s): MEASURE Evaluation

Year: 2012

The Power of Networks – A New Opportunity for Improving Global Health Abstract:

A network perspective offers a new opportunity for improving global health. As we use monitoring and evaluation to guide the allocation of global health resources, social network analysis (SNA) is the tool that will unlock these new opportunities. SNA provides information that can’t be obtained by traditional evaluation methods in which people or organizations (such as government agencies and nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs) are considered in isolation of each other. SNA, on the other hand, examines the relationships between organizations. And because people with chronic conditions such as HIV infection or diabetes require many services over time, the quality of their care and health can be affected by coordination among the organizations providing their services.

In MEASURE Evaluation, we apply a network perspective to evaluating the complex task of providing health services to populations. We see that in some populations, there is an overabundance of programs providing services, with many of them working in isolation of the others; or even worse, in competition with them. In other communities the services are scarce, but still the organizations are not working together. Whether in places of program abundance or scarcity, there are opportunities to reap benefits for the population served by enabling organizations to communicate and coordinate with each other. This is especially important as international investments in health decline or shift to other priorities.

To harness the power of networks to improve health outcomes, MEASURE Evaluation can develop tools and approaches for assessing interactions between healthcare agencies and organizations.

Filed under: Network analysis , Global health