ARCHIVED - Promotion of Population Health Grant and Contribution Programs: Summary of Program Evaluations, 2004-2009


Executive Summary

This Report fulfils the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) commitment to the Treasury Board of Canada in the 2003-04 Promotion of Population Health Grants and Contributions (PPHGC) Results-based Management and Accountability Framework (RMAF) to complete an evaluation summary to support the renewal of the Terms and Conditions for the Promotion of Population Health. The objective of the evaluation summary is to review and summarize the overall relevance, impact and effect, and design and delivery of the PPHGC Program, based on the evaluations conducted on its component programs, from 2004 to 2009.

1. Relevance

At the PPHGC level, the Government of Canada’s commitments and actions in population health and the creation of the Public Health Agency of Canada in 2004 are acknowledgements that federal involvement in the promotion of population health continues to be relevant.

2. Impact and Effect

The evaluations show that the PPHGC component programs contributed substantially to PHAC’s strategic outcome of “healthier Canadians, reduced health disparities, and a stronger public health capacity” through the outcomes detailed in the PPHGC logic model and performance measurement strategy.

The programs consistently apply the key characteristics of the population health approach: focused on the health of populations; evidence-based; applying multiple strategies that are culturally and gender appropriate; employing mechanisms for public involvement, such as empowerment, participation, and capacity building; and collaborating across sectors and levels. The programs are also centered around the determinants of health, ranging from disease-specific programs focussed on prevention and mitigation, to comprehensive service or research programs targeting children, women or other at-risk populations.

Evidence of achievement of the immediate and intermediate outcomes articulated in the PPHGC logic model and performance measurement strategy were reported in the program evaluations reviewed. However, the longer term outcomes were not assessed.

3. Design and Delivery

Most evaluations rated program design and delivery as sound, reflecting the implementation of a promotion of population health approach. This contributed to the realization of expected outcomes as identified in the PPHGC logic model.

The same evaluations also reported that the programs are well-managed and provide value for money. This is supported by evidence of activities and outputs in: knowledge development and dissemination; informing the development of policies, programs and services; collaboration; capacity building; the involvement of target populations in project/program governance and delivery; and the resources contributed by partners and collaborators (in particular, in-kind contributions and the efforts of volunteers).

4. Cost Effectiveness

COST-EFFECTIVENESS The question of cost-effectiveness has proven to be a challenge for many of the evaluations. One evaluation was able to demonstrate cost-effectiveness to some extent by comparison to similar programs in other jurisdictions. Other evaluations have examined the leveraged resources and volunteer involvement to demonstrate cost benefits.

5. Recommendations

RECOMMENDATION 1: PHAC should develop a framework and strategy for its evaluation activities that would standardize: terminology; key issues; design; and evaluation report content and format.

RECOMMENDATION 2: PHAC should continue its requirement for a management action plan in response to each evaluation and its implementation should be monitored.

RECOMMENDATION 3: PHAC should complement program evaluations with strategic evaluations.

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