Health program planning involves general and strategic decisions made based on the gathering and analysis of information. The 6 steps of the planning process are:
1. Pre-planning & Project Management: the planner must manage several elements such as meaningful participation of key stakeholders, money and resources, time, data gathering and decision making.
2. Situation Assessment: assessing the needs, strengths and assets of a community by examining the legal and political environment, stakeholders, socio-environmental conditions and determinants of health.
3. Identify Goals, Populations of Interest and Objectives: this is important in order to ensure that the design of the program is suitable, and in order to develop evaluation tools. Goals and objectives specify the desired achievement of a program. Choosing a target population helps set these goals and objectives.
4. Identify Strategies, Activities and Resources: the task is to identify activities that will achieve the objectives, and figure out what resources are needed to complete these activities.
5. Develop Indicators: develop measurable indicators associated with each objective and strategy which indicate the point at which the objective has been achieved. This step is important because it indicates commitment to achieving goals.
6. Review the Program Plan: this involves summarizing the plan into a logic model and reviewing it to find relationships between goals, the population of interest, objectives, strategies and activities. This step helps the planning team take a look at the program as a whole and take a realistic look at feasibility.