A comprehensive needs assessment tool for planning rheumatic heart disease control programs in limited resource settings
Background: Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is an important cause of death in low- and middle-income countries. However, evidence-based interventions have not been implemented systematically in many countries. Objectives: We present a RHD Needs Assessment Tool (NAT) that can be used to develop and plan comprehensive RHD control programs and to provide baseline data for program impact assessment. Methods: The RHD NAT follows a mixed-methods approach using quantitative and qualitative data collection instruments. Evidence is mapped to a conceptual model that follows a patient through the natural history of RHD. The RHD NAT has four phases: (1) situational assessment; (2) facility-based assessment of epidemiology and health system capacity; (3) patient and provider experience of RHD and (4) planning an appropriate intervention with monitoring and evaluation. Discussion: The RHD NAT is designed to paint a comprehensive picture of RHD care in an endemic setting and to identify the major gaps to disseminating and implementing evidence-based interventions.