Chapter 1 Introduction to planning
1.1 What are the basic planning concepts?
A plan is a course of action one intends to follow in order to solve a problem.
When many people in many areas are involved, it is essential to indicate clearly who is going to do what, where, and when with regard to defined problems. Since a plan gives objectives, targets, strategies, a time frame, and a budget, one can measure its effectiveness in reducing the problem and its efficiency in terms of cost. Planning is done at various levels.
At the national level, the written action plan will focus on analysing problems and developing strategies for the country as a whole. Preparation of the plan will include discussion and decision-making in each of the principal areas to be included in the plan. The final plan will include the following:
Much emphasis should be placed on developing human resources (training and retraining) and providing adequate facilities and all the resources needed for effective implementation of the plan.
At the district level, the written plan will focus more on the actual tasks to be performed - and by whom, where, and when - taking into account resources (human, financial, physical) and organization of those resources. Planning at the district level needs to be more pragmatic and less conceptual than at the national level.
Coordinating district and national plans
Planning at the central and peripheral levels should not be considered separate exercises, but complementary ones. Information from districts on the magnitude of the problems and requirements for human resources, infrastruc-ture and equipment is essential for policy-planning at the national level. Similarly, national guidance and policy should also be reflected in district planning. Note that in many developing countries, funding of most district activities is still decided centrally.
Table 1: Planning at national and district level
In addition to eye-care services provided by the government sector, such services are also provided by NGOs and private practitioners. Even non-health sectors can contribute to effective eye-care services, such as the district administration, schoolteachers (e.g. eye screening in schools, trachoma control, eye health education) and local volunteers.
It is essential to involve all participating
parties in the planning process. Cooperation and collaboration
during the planning stage can avoid duplication and will increase the
efficiency of the available eye-care services in all sectors.
DocumentsStrategies for the prevention of blindness in national programmes - a primary health care approach
© World Health Organization and International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, 2004