|Community Monitoring in Health Resources for the Practitioner|
Preparing for Community Enquiry
Community enquiry and sharing of the results through a report card is a crucial component of community monitoring. Some of the desirable pre-requisites before one conducts community enquiry are:
- Community scoping or health mapping – this allows the facilitating organisation and the leadership among the community to have a in-depth understanding of the key health issues of the community as well as an understanding of the health service utilisation patterns and the socio-demographic distribution of the population. Community scoping is important to identify the key advocacy or community monitoring issue/s. See chapter on Village or Neighbourhood profile for greater details on how this may be done.
- Community is mobilized – formed into some formal or informal groups and have perception of problem and a shared concern around the issue that is the proposed issue of advocacy. The issue may be seen as narrow or very clearly defined as ‘immunisation services for children’ or more broad like ‘affordable and quality curative services’. The mobilization of the community into groups allows these groups to become direct participants in the enquiry process and subsequent advocacy, providing the community members an ‘authentic’ experience of participation and leadership. Some examples of possible community structures, could be parents’ forum, neighbourhood groups,
- The community has some idea or knowledge about their service entitlements (i.e.: the services government has guaranteed) on the issue of concern, i.e. about the range of vaccines and conditions under which these services should be provided or health insurance, premium, GP registration, conditions for emergency hospitalization and so on. Knowledge of health related entitlements in necessary among the community so that they’re able to judge the gaps in service delivery and participate in effective advocacy for change.
- A very important preparatory activity is to build some relationships among the service providers, nurses, health authorities or municipal authorities, i.e. public bodies who are involved in either providing services or facilitating the provision of services. This is necessary so that the community enquiry and subsequent advocacy are not seen as negative and confrontational acts but as creative efforts by the community to bring desirable change. Through this initial relationship building process these authorities can be made to anticipate the change and can also become partners in the change process rather than adversaries.