Minimum Package of Services evaluation
Summative evaluation of the Minimum Package of Services component of the “Social inclusion through the provision of integrated social services at community level”
According to its Theory of Change, the Minimum Package of Services (MPS) model seeks to demonstrate that the delivery “of a universal package of community-based services (health, education, social protection) in an integrated/coordinated way to children and their families will reduce the equity gaps and the deprivations of children in the targeted area.”
Among the most important lessons learned from the evaluation of the MPS model are:
- Identifying vulnerabilities, assessing the situation of vulnerable children and their families and monitoring them is instrumental for the design and delivery of the services under MPS. Complete community census and continuing evaluation and monitoring of cases are both needed in the future, including for rolled out interventions, with a view to achieve optimal results.
- The assumption that each community can work with a standard team of community workers needs to be re-assessed, as different communities may have different needs, dimensions and geographic challenges. This evaluation proposes a set of indicators for the calculation of the workload of community workers when the models’ costs are analyzed.
- Without specialized additional services overall objectives cannot be fully reached. The minimum package of services is developed to facilitate and provide access to primary services and preventive services, but the effectiveness of services depends on the existence of specialized service providers at local and county level (such as psychological counselling, guidance and training, addiction treatment, kinesiotherapy, speech therapy, support teachers for children with special educational needs etc.).
- One of the biggest challenges of the model implementation in Bacău County was to find trained, competent and available human resources. Model scale up should consider a set of specific measures to recruit, train and maintain staff.
- Probably the second biggest challenge for the sustainability of the model, after ensuring the human resources, is the availability of the local budgets that need to support the costs when employing the social workers (and in some cases the community nurse, if there is no action taken by the MoH). In this context maintaining and intensifying advocacy measures for/during scale up, at both local and national level, are paramount to ensure continuity of services.
- The model should consider different approaches for rural areas, small urban areas and large urban areas, given the significant difference in terms of capacity and situation between them.