HIV treatment, care, and support, and PMTCT programs are most effective when based on the best available research evidence. This is the fundamental premise of evidence-based medicine. Equally well known is the dilemma of transforming evidence into practice, which is the subject of knowledge translation and implementation science. Even when the findings of clinical trials make their way into international and national program guidelines, they run up against competing priorities within public health and community programs, resource constraints, and institutional and human inertia. Understanding how to effectively change the approach used in program operations requires understanding how programs work in the first place. Policymakers, program managers, and service providers routinely confront two fundamental and interrelated questions: Is the program working? Could the program work better? Answering these requires information, as does deciding the way forward. Most decisions are based on a combination of factors including personal experience, common sense, political realities, and program and/or research data. Operations research and program evaluation approaches can help managers be more systematic in examining existing program information, collecting new data if needed, and looking for alternative solutions. This technical brief examines this process.
Foreit, Karen. 2013. "From problem-solving to research utilization: How operations research and program evaluation can make programs better." Washington, DC: USAID | Project Search: HIVCore.
HIVCore: Strengthening HIV and AIDS Treatment, Care, and Support and PMTCT Service Delivery Programs