Identifying needs and making targeted recommendations.

Program overview

In 2007, Think Responsive joined a humanitarian team to visit Sierra Leone, which has one of the highest fertility and maternal and child mortality rates in the world. While there, we conducted an in-depth needs assessment of reproductive health services and made recommendations to the Ministry of Health.

Program goal

Conduct a needs assessment to gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges in providing health services to women in rural areas.

Evaluation and Results

During the needs assessment process, Think Responsive staff led focus groups with local midwives and traditional birth attendants in the villages of Bo district. These discussions gave us a local perspective on the challenges in providing health services to local women. We also conducted interviews with health providers at local public hospitals as well as with the staff of several NGOs that provide family planning and reproductive health services in the area.

We presented our findings to the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health, the staff of the Ministry of Health, and the heads of several local hospitals and clinics. In the course of several meetings with the Ministry of Health, Think Responsive staff made specific recommendations to facilitate the expansion of family planning and health services in the rural areas of Sierra Leone.

Our recommendations included:

  • Focusing more on basic and primary health care, as opposed to specialized care, to better utilize the country’s limited resources.

  • Initiating mobile health care units to address transportation issues and facilitate access for women who could not travel.

  • Collaborating with international NGOs to avoid duplication of clinics in the same geographical region. For example, we suggested they set up a proper registry to more efficiently allocate resources.

In addition to presenting to authorities and individuals from Sierra Leone, we presented our findings to universities and international health organizations based in the United States.