Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
JOURDAN HIDALGO, Lily and MANUEL SOTELO, Juan. In search of the results of technical cooperation. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1999, vol.5, n.6, pp. 423-429. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891999000500011.
For the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), technical cooperation (TC) is the process by which the PAHO Member States work with the Organization, as equal partners, to identify and reach their own health goals and to promote self-sufficiency in health development, through programs that respond to those countries needs and national priorities. Since 1978, PAHO has used the American Regional Planning, Programming, Monitoring, and Evaluation System (AMPES) to establish management procedures and to facilitate decision-making in health TC. As part of AMPES, PAHO uses a "logical approach to project management" to structure the work program of the Organization and to identify the expected results from TC activities and TC resource investments. This project management approach, which replaces the "functional approaches" system used to date, also helps establish a causative relationship between the programmed activities and the results that PAHO expects, and between the activities and the hoped-for outcomes in the countries. As part of an ongoing process of rethinking international health TC, several years ago PAHO began a four-phase study on the usefulness and validity of functional approaches and on the need to propose new ones or to modify existing ones. The results of the initial phase showed it was difficult to classify the activities because the functionalapproaches categories were not mutually exclusive and the TC activities were complex. Further, the expected results did not specify the product for which the PAHO Secretariat was accountable within a certain time frame nor the Secretariats level of responsibility. Thus, a new and more flexible classification of expected results was proposed, with the following categories: cooperation networks and alliances; surveillance and information systems; standards and guidelines; research and evaluation studies; plans, projects, and policies; methods, models, and technologies; training programs; promotional campaigns and advocacy; and direct support. In the second phase of the study, it was concluded that the proposed classification system made it possible to more precisely identify the products of PAHO technical cooperation projects, the Organizations degree of responsibility, and the bases for estimating needed resources. The new system could also facilitate monitoring and evaluation. In addition, the third phase of analyzing the functional approaches has begun. Its objective is to evaluate the effect of technical cooperation based on the changes incorporated in the programming of activities.