Reaching every district – development and testing of a health micro-planning strategy for reaching difficult to reach populations in Mongolia
Submitted: 26 July 2008
Revised: 3 January 2009
Published: 15 April 2009
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Enkhtuya B, Badamusuren T, Dondog N, Khandsuren L, Elbegtuya N, Jargal G, Surenchimeg V, Grundy J.
Citation: Enkhtuya B, Badamusuren T, Dondog N, Khandsuren L, Elbegtuya N, Jargal G, Surenchimeg V, Grundy J. Reaching every district – development and testing of a health micro-planning strategy for reaching difficult to reach populations in Mongolia. Rural and Remote Health 9: 1045. (Online) 2009. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au
Context: Since the 1990s, Mongolia has undergone a rapid social and economic transition with migration to the urban areas of the national capital Ulaanbaatar. The main reasons for the migration are social sector decline in rural areas and the potential for employment opportunities in urban areas. There are also new internal patterns of migration in rural and remote areas relating to recent developments in the economic sector. Despite recent innovations in health system management in Mongolia, in some urban and rural and remote locations health services are not sufficiently accessed by the most socially and economically disadvantaged populations. These concerns provided the motivation for the Ministry of Health of Mongolia and development partners to attempt to access the most difficult to reach populations through the development of a micro-planning process referred to as the ‘Reaching Every District strategy’ (RED). This article describes and analyses RED micro-planning processes and content, and highlights the lessons learned. The main source of data for this planning system development was in the development and testing of the micro-planning process in Byanzurkh District, Ulaanbaatar in June 2008.
Intervention: The principal intervention developed and trialed was a health micro-planning strategy for improved access to immunization and maternal and child health services for difficult to reach populations. The planning methodology was a problem-solving approach progressing from health mapping to barrier analysis, to activity planning and costing and finally to monitoring and evaluation.
Lessons learned: Main success factors in the development of the planning methodology were the use of barrier analysis and mapping approaches for data analysis and problem solving at the local level, and re-orientation of management approaches from ‘inspection’ to supportive supervision. Additionally, although the RED strategy is intended to be an immunization-specific intervention internationally, evidence from the development and trial of the process in Mongolia indicates its potential for wider health systems applications. This is particularly so for detecting and responding to the maternal and child health service needs of the more difficult to reach sub-populations.
Key words: child survival, health planning, health system strengthening, immunization, micro-planning, Mongolia, reaching every district.
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