Peer-to-Peer NPHI Evaluation Conducted in Belgium

Leadership from IANPHI members conducted the first evaluation of this new initiative at Belgium’s Scientific Institute of Public Health in April 2015.

Since its inception, IANPHI has been committed to supporting and strengthening national public health institutes (NPHIs). As the organization’s membership has grown, to now nearly 100 members, NPHIs have identified the desire for an NPHI evaluation framework, both to identify strengths of an institute’s ability to address specific public health functions, and to highlight areas for potential growth.

After conducting evaluations in a few member NPHIs, IANPHI developed its NPHI Evaluation Initiative with the aim of strengthening peer-to-peer support within the network. Using an Evaluation Tool based on the IANPHI Framework for core functions and attributes as well as the public health functions identified by the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. CDC, PAHO, and others, leadership from IANPHI members conducted the first evaluation of this new initiative at Belgium’s Scientific Institute of Public Health (WIV-ISP) in April 2015.

The WIV-ISP evaluation, requested by its management team, came in the context of preparing a 3-year management contract with the Belgian Ministry of Health, to evaluate the current situation and identify future goals and priorities for the institute. The evaluation was conducted at the institute’s headquarters and nearby stakeholders in Brussels. Led by Reinhard Burger (RKI Germany), Felix Rosenberg (FIOCRUZ Brazil), Agnes LeFranc (InVS France), Anne Catherine Viso (InVS, IANPHI Secretariat France), and Courtenay Dusenbury (Emory GHI, IANPHI U.S. Office), each reviewer provided expertise in an area of the evaluation, from infectious diseases to human bio-monitoring, including strategic planning, quality, and performance evaluation. An additional expert from the U.S. CDC will evaluate bio-informatics functions at WIV-ISP in a visit later this year.

Opening the discussion, Dr. R. Burger emphasized that although an NPHI evaluation requires a lot of preparation, it is a worthwhile investment to critically summarize the NPHI's work from time to time and to draw appropriate conclusions. Comments from external experts, in his experience, usually provide quite helpful stimulus for determining the future course of an institution, and occasionally reveal the need for adjustments and the shift of focus areas.

Using the IANPHI Evaluation Tool as a framework, along with tailored terms of reference, the team met with department leaders from WIV-ISP on April 27-30 to discuss the institute’s implementation of its essential health functions, evaluate the pertinence and relevance of the current output for federal and federalized public health authorities, and assess whether the WIV-ISP organogram is in line with the institute’s mission. The group also met with the main stakeholders of WIV-ISP to assess collaboration with internal partners and federal sister organizations. The evaluation culminated with a discussion of future goals and priorities for the future development of WIV-ISP.

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