Formal Program Evaluation Paper

Formal Program Evaluation Paper

Vaccines for Children, Vaccine Program in Oklahoma

Program evaluation assesses the effectiveness as well as the efficacy of the program’s activities, characteristics, and outcomes. The ultimate objectives are to improve their effectiveness and processes for future development and decision-making. Ongoing assessments by project managers vary from the formal program evaluation but the ultimate goals are similar. Most public health programs have specific expected outcomes or results and utilize verifiable methods to achieve these results (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). Therefore, they’re organized programs that can be evaluated using various models. The vaccine for children (VFC) program in Oklahoma is one of such public health programs. Formal program evaluation uses specific conceptual models that are selected based on the nature of the program and its available characteristics. This paper describes the basis for program evaluation and methods for the VFC program in Oklahoma.

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The Vaccine for Children Program in Oklahoma

Vaccine for Children Program is a federal public health program that was implemented in all states. However, the program’s regulations vary slightly in every state depending on their local policies. the VFC program. This program was rolled out in 1993 after the measles epidemic that led to more than ten thousand deaths where the majority of the victims were children. The majority of these children had not received vaccination owing to social and financial vulnerability issues. The program was a product of the Omnibus Budget Recompilation Act in 1993 by the US Congress in response to the pandemic.

The program aims at providing vaccines to the children who cannot afford these vaccines due to the lower socioeconomic status of their parents or had insurance covers that did not include vaccines. Therefore, the children have to meet certain eligibility criteria to be enrolled in the program. Only children who are 18 years old and younger are included in this program. Alongside age requirements, the children also have to be SoonerCare eligible, uninsured, underinsured, American Indian, or Alaskan. Children with insurance plans that fully include vaccines are not enrolled in this program. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is responsible for the recommendation of specific vaccines that are appropriate for the program at the national level. The vaccines cover about sixteen diseases in Oklahoma

The VFC program in Oklahoma ensures that these children receive the vaccination at no cost. However, there may be other costs related to office visits or medical examinations during these visits but not necessarily for the administration of the shots. Oklahoma, like the other 15 states in the US, allows exemptions due to religious or personal reasons. Therefore, the vaccination of the children is somewhat determined by parental choices. This has a great impact on the outcomes of the VFC program in Oklahoma. Program evaluation for future decision-making and development should therefore consider these exemptions.

Appropriate Model for Program Evaluation

Various program evaluation models can be used to assess a public health program based on its suitability features. The program evaluation would take into account the implementation of the program, goals attribution, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness (CDC, 2020 Formal Program Evaluation Paper). Therefore, prior knowledge of these requirements determines the best evaluation model to adopt. Regular surveillance data about the program is required in cases of periodic program evaluation.

The participative-oriented evaluation model would be ideal for the VFC program in Oklahoma. The success of the program required the participation of the stakeholders for the best outcomes. Therefore, their input would be necessary for ensuring the achievement of such outcomes. The participative-oriented model ensures that the stakeholders are involved in the evaluation of the program thereby enabling the timely implementation of evaluation recommendations. Addressing the reasons for failure or success of the program would be directed to the providers and recipients of the care in the program. Moreover, there have been concerns about the decline in vaccination of children in Oklahoma in the past eighteen months with the cited reasons unclear (The Oklahoman Editorial Board, 2020). Assessment of these reasons would need the input of the care providers and the recipients.

The participative-oriented model encourages collaboration among stakeholders. This would increase the relevance of the reports of the program evaluation (Davidson et al., 2017), enable learning and growth of the participants in the program, empower the vaccine providers, and establish the direct causation attributed to the success and failures of the program. This model is less expensive as compared with other models. The results from this model are not generalizable in most cases and therefore addressing the program concerns would be directed to the specific causation (Kananura et al., 2017). The diversity in participants would ensure specific information on concerns and outcomes.

Key Stakeholders

The VFC program in Oklahoma draws its regulations from the national policies governing immunization in the US.  Therefore, this program is law-entitled and is regulated by the Social Security Act. Key stakeholders are not only health providers but also policymakers and implementers. The children eligible for this program or participating in the program form the largest group of stakeholders but their participation is not key as their participation is decided upon by their parents. As a result, parents are key stakeholders in the program alongside the doctors enrolled in the program.

Health policy lawmakers at the state level in Oklahoma and doctors enrolled in the VFC program are the important key stakeholders in the evaluation of this program. I would need to communicate with responsible legislative representatives in the department of health in Oklahoma as they are important health policymakers in the state. Their input would be essential in understanding the legal implication during the improvement of the policy at the state level. The doctors enrolled in the program are the key policy effectors of this program policies. Therefore, communication with them would ensure collaborative care in the best interest of the children enrolled in the program. Their understanding of the factors influencing the participation of the children in the providers would be vital

Program Evaluation Methods

The model of program evaluation is important in determining the methods of results of the evaluation. As aforementioned, the evaluation of this program would adopt the participative-oriented model. The type of information to be collected would be majorly qualitative (Clarke et al., 2019). The best program evaluation methods would involve focus group discussions and key informant interviews.  These methods would provide proper insights and firsthand information on the success, progress, and weaknesses of the program (CDC, 2020). The methods would require participative and interactive sessions with the stakeholders.

Conclusion

Public health program evaluation requires a systematic approach in assessing the progress and outcomes of the program. The VFC program in Oklahoma is a federal policy implemented at the state level with specific requirements. The progress of this program would be evaluated by the participative-oriented model. This would enable the acquisition of firsthand qualitative information on the progress of the program. The doctors approved and enrolled in this program and the legislative representatives would the key stakeholders with whom collaborative communication would be essential. The best evaluation methods would involve focused group discussion and key informant interviews.

References for Formal Program Evaluation Paper

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, April 16). Introduction to Program Evaluation for Public Health Programs: A Self-Study Guide. Cdc.Gov. https://www.cdc.gov/eval/guide/introduction/index.htm

Clarke, G. M., Conti, S., Wolters, A. T., & Steventon, A. (2019). Evaluating the impact of healthcare interventions using routine data. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.)365, l2239. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2239

Davidson, P. L., Maccalla, N. M. G., Afifi, A. A., Guerrero, L., Nakazono, T. T., Zhong, S., & Wallace, S. P. (2017). A participatory approach to evaluating a national training and institutional change initiative: the BUILD longitudinal evaluation. BMC Proceedings11(S12). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12919-017-0082-9

Kananura, R. M., Ekirapa-Kiracho, E., Paina, L., Bumba, A., Mulekwa, G., Nakiganda-Busiku, D., Oo, H. N. L., Kiwanuka, S. N., George, A., & Peters, D. H. (2017). Participatory monitoring and evaluation approaches that influence decision-making: lessons from a maternal and newborn study in Eastern Uganda. Health Research Policy and Systems15(S2). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12961-017-0274-9

The Oklahoman Editorial Board. (2020, October 11). Opinion: Oklahoma vaccine rates trending in the wrong direction. Oklahoman.Com. https://www.oklahoman.com/article/5673563/opinion-oklahoma-vaccine-rates-trending-in-wrong-direction