School and youth health

How to get started?

RAAPP consists of a series of phases that include planning, training, collecting and analyzing data, and finally producing a national action plan. For Mega Country Network participants, the initial planning step is to establish a Core Team to ensure that the process can be implemented smoothly and with success, including planning, support, and leadership. This core team can get assistance from WHO and Health and Human Development Programs/EDC during the planning phase via teleconferencing and e-mail. WHO and HHD/EDC are available for on-site training, data collection, analysis, and action planning.

Some key milestones for planning are:

1. Create a Core Team, consisting of staff who will implement the RAAPP. A Coordinator and a Focal Point Person will lead the Core Team.

The Core Team will:

  • Represent at least the ministries of education and health
  • Have access to and a good relationship with the senior ministerial staff.
  • Have the skills to conduct interviews and to record and analyze data
  • See the RAAPP through to its completion
  • Secure interviews with staff and persons for each level
  • Secure the resources for timely and accurate data collection
  • Assemble the staff to analyze and act on the findings
2. The Core Team needs to assemble a support team to assist in data collection and analysis.

The Support Team will provide:

  • Transportation to interview sites
  • Materials production
  • Reservations for training spaces and guest accommodations
  • Computers and technical support for data analysis
3. The Core Team must develop a schedule for training and field-testing sessions.

For accurate data collection the Core Team must:

  • Schedule training and practice sessions, for all staff involved in interviewing, recording, and data management, on RAAPP methods
  • Plan to modify or customize the instruments for appropriate language and word usage and possible translation into the national language
  • Select a practice sample, a small group of research partners, to field-test the instruments
  • Allow for time to revise and strengthen the instruments according to feedback from the practice and field sessions
4. The Core Tam collects preliminary data, such as objectively verifiable information to bolster the subjective data, provided by the interviewees.

Examples of these data, related to each capacity area, are:

  • The policies that support health promotion through schools and budget items for associated activities;
  • Names of school health leaders and a description of their mandate;
  • Description of the formal mechanisms that facilitate coordination among different agencies in the area of school health, organizational chart, and its governing guidelines;
  • Studies and analysis that were recently conducted in country with regard to health behaviors, morbidity, and mortality of school-age children;
  • Evaluation results of school health interventions
5. The Core Team selects and schedules key informants, interviews, and group discussions.

The Core Team should use the following criteria in selecting research partners:

  • Key informants are senior-level staff who can provide insight into the policy structures of school health interventions. These interviews should be conducted with at least the ministries of education and health, but other relevant ministries should be considered.
  • Interview sample who supports or implements policy should be representative of the national profiles. That is to say, economic, geographic, gender, cultural and linguistic considerations should be made.
  • Group discussions are comprised of professionals involved in school health programmes yet they are independent of the government. This sample gives the Core Team insight into how those affected by the government's policies and programmes view its capacity. Group discussions may include representatives of non-governmental organizations, parent associations, or community-based organizations. Selections should also be representative of the nation's diversity.

There is no pre-determined number of interviews that should be conducted at each level. A rapid assessment procedure does not use statistically significant sample sizes but rather purposive samples. This sampling technique allows for the researchers to determine the most cost-effective way to capture the different archetypes, or capacity profiles, of school health programmes in the nation without generating redundant information. While the full range of profiles would be ideal, the Core Team must select a sample that is feasible given the resources available. The developers, through previous experience, recommend that the team should resist the temptation of selecting a sample based on convenience. A plan to improve national capacity is valid only when it considers the range of national realities.