(2004; 98 pages)
Throughout this manual we have seen that research plays a role in various stages in the development of drug use interventions. In this chapter we deal with the final stage: monitoring and evaluation of the intervention strategy. Plan these before doing the intervention. Advance data collection and/or reliable historical data may be needed. It is important to be clear about the difference between monitoring and evaluation, because they are often confused.
Monitoring is done during the implementation of the intervention to find out what has been achieved so far, and to identify any constraints.
Monitoring is a surveillance system used by those responsible for a project, to:
• check if, as far as possible, everything goes according to plan
• find out if there are unexpected difficulties
• adjust plans, if necessary.
Evaluation is done to find out if change has taken place and if so whether it occurred as a result of the programme.
We evaluate health education programmes for many reasons, to:
• assess whether the intervention worked
• determine if the costs were reasonable
• convince others that the intervention was done properly
• document experiences in order to help others replicate successful interventions and avoid any identified mistakes.
Evaluation is a way of looking at specific programmes or activities, in order to assess progress and effectiveness, consider costs and efficiency, show where changes are needed, and help to plan more effectively in the future.
Evaluation is rarely carried out in a systematic manner. Only a few of the projects approached for a WHO global survey of public education on rational use of medicines could produce evaluation reports. As a result very little is known about the impact of rational drug use interventions directed towards consumers - their coverage, their relative costs, their sustainability, and perhaps most importantly, the degree to which a programme successfully implemented in one country may be replicated elsewhere (Fresle and Wolfheim, 1997). Good monitoring systems are a prerequisite for good evaluations.