A health program is “an organized response to reduce or eliminate one or more problems by achieving one or more objectives, with the ultimate goal of improving the health of society.” (Shortell & Richardson, 1978 as cited by Grembowski, 2001, p.3). Program evaluation, representing the techniques and concepts of social science, is the use of social research methods to systematically investigate the effectiveness of social intervention programs and is “intended to be useful for improving programs and informing social action aimed at ameliorating social problems.” (Rossi, Lipsey & Freeman, 2003, p.28).
“Evaluation research can be defined as a type of study that uses standard social research methods for evaluative purposes, as a specific research methodology, and as an assessment process that employs special techniques unique to the evaluation of social programs” (Powell, 2006).
Ever since the concept of value for money in health care was introduced there has been concerted effort to develop techniques that assist decision makers to bring a balance between benefits and costs associated with each option available before them and “the early application of cost-benefit analysis were undertaken in the United States during the 1930s in connection with flood control programs.” (Robinson, 1993).
Policy analysis and evaluation research received fillip at the federal government level in the year 1965 with the introduction of ‘the War on Poverty-Great Society initiative and the Executive Order establishing the Planning-Programming-Budgeting system in the U.S. Both programs initiated scholars to examine the “efficiency with which public measures allocate resources....
ed scholars to examine the "efficiency with which public measures allocate resources, their impacts on individual behavior, their effectiveness in attaining the objectives for which they were designed, and their effects" in bridging the socio-economic divide. (Rossi, Lipsey & Freeman, 2003, p. 14).
Program evaluation is defined as the use of social research methods to systematically investigate the effectiveness of social intervention programs in ways that are adapted to their political and organizational environments that are designed to inform social action in ways that improve social condition. The evaluation sponsors are the person, group, or organization that requests or requires the evaluation and provides the resources to conduct it. Stakeholders include individuals, groups, or organizations having a significant interest in how well a program functions, for instance, those with decision-making authority over the program, funders and sponsors, administrators and personnel, and clients or intended beneficiaries. The findings of an evaluation may be used by decision makers and other stake holders in their day-to-day management level or at broader funding or policy levels. The health promotion cycle consists of four stages, beginning with needs assessment, leading to program planning, implementation and then to evaluation. According to Hawe, Degeling, and Hall (1990) for health promotion, evaluation involves measurement and observation and comparison with some criterion or standard. An evaluation tries to answer the differences made with the introduction of a particular health promotion program and the changes in health status it has produced. Hence, an evaluation involves observing, documenting and measuring of the actual results of the programs in relation to the