Community monitoring: A strategy to watch out for
This article explores the development and use of community-based monitoring (CBM), which involves drawing in, activating, motivating and capacity building so that the community and its representatives can directly give feedback about the functioning of public health services, including input to improving planning of those services. The focus of this monitoring process is mainly on ‘fact finding’ and ‘learning lessons for improvement' rather than on ‘fault finding’. This article describes the objectives and stages of CBM and also discusses its current status and challenges. The most important reasons for the success of CBM are strong civil society engagement, the involvement of public health personnel as well as the community as principal stakeholders, adequate geographic representation and the crucial role played by the Monitoring and Planning Committees.
Community-based monitoring of health services is a key strategy of the NRHM to ensure that services reach those for whom they are intended. This framework is consistent with the ‘Right to Health Care’ approach since it places health rights of the community at the centre of the process. It also seeks to address gaps in the implementation of various programs, thereby enhancing transparency down to the grassroots level.
Keywords: Community, community mobilisation, community monitoring, community ownership and participation in management, health care, public health
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