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Needs assessment: A practical approach 

Needs assessment: A practical approach
Needs assessment: A practical approach

Aileen Clarke

, John Powell

, and Mary Ann Lansang

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date: 26 January 2022

Needs assessment is an essential part of planning for health care and public health. This chapter describes a practical approach to needs assessment, building on the previous chapter on need and its measurement (McIntyre et al. 2009). Needs assessment aims to ensure a population-based, epidemiological, and public health approach to the planning of health interventions. It is of particular importance in publicly funded systems but is also of value in other systems. A needs assessment should provide a specific plan for meeting the needs of a specific population, with a specified health condition or set of conditions, taking questions of effectiveness, affordability, allocative efficiency, equity, and access into account and independent of competing clinical or commercial interests. A conventional needs assessment includes epidemiological, comparative, and corporate components although this chapter also considers rapid needs assessment and participatory community appraisal techniques. In the past, needs assessment has been seen as failing to contribute expected benefits; however, needs assessment has great potential to contribute valuable practical public health inputs to any health organization’s activities.

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