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How can the sustainability of a public health (food fortification) program be ensured?

Author(s): Mijumbi, Rhona
[EVIPNet Repository ID: 179 ] Language(s): English
Although knowledge, facts and information on program planning, implementation, and evaluation are common, those on health promotion program sustainability are less abundant and tend to be fragmented. The concept of sustainability refers to the continuation of programs and therefore accordingly a sustained program is defined as a set of durable activities and resources aimed at program-related objectives. There are at least four reasons why sustainability concerns public health decision makers and practitioners. First, sustained programs can maintain their effects over a long period allowing for the study of long-term effects. Second, there is often a latency period between the beginning of program-related activities and their effects on population health so the program has got to be able to live through the latent period for it to realize its effects. In addition, if a program were perceived as being beneficial for the health of targeted populations, the absence of sustainability would lead to an investment loss for the organizations and people involved; and yet a discontinued community program brings disillusion to participants and therefore poses obstacles to subsequent community mobilization. For these reasons which are by no means exhaustive, sustainability is crucial for any intervention considered beneficial to the population. This paper looks at how an organization can ensure sustainability of a given program and it is based on a review of the literature on program sustainability done by Pierre Pluye et al. [1]. It focuses on the structural and temporal (time) dimensions of program sustainability. The authors of this rapid response emphasize that sustainability starts with the beginning of program development and as such, can hardly be conceived as a final phase of development.