Guide to Developing Public Health Programmes

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A Guide to Developing Public Health Programmes

A generic programme logic model

Public Health Intelligence
Occasional bulletin Number 35


John Wren, Senior Advisor, Social Epidemiology, Public Health Intelligence Unit, Ministry of Health, was the author of this guide.

Citation: Ministry of Health. 2006. A Guide to Developing Public Health Programmes: A generic programme logic model. Occasional Bulletin No. 35. Wellington: Ministry of Health.

Published in March 2006 by the
Ministry of Health
PO Box 5013, Wellington, New Zealand

ISBN 0-478-29914-1 (Book)

ISBN 0-478-29917-6 (Internet)
HP 4215

This document is available on the Ministry of Health’s website:


This document draws heavily on material from four sources.

  • ERGHO. 1996. Choosing a health outcomes measurement instrument: general advice proposed by the European Research Group on Health Outcomes Measures (ERGHO). Quality of Life Newsletter no. 15: 7–8. URL:
    (accessed 3 November 2005).

  • Health Communication Unit. 2001. Logic Models Workbook. Toronto: Health Communication Unit, Centre for Health Promotion, University of Toronto. URL: (accessed 3 November 2005).

  • Strategic Policy Directorate of the Population and Public Health Branch. 2001. The Population Health Template: Key elements and actions that define a population health approach. Ottawa: Health Canada. URL:
    (accessed 3 November 2005).

  • WK Kellogg Foundation. 1998. WK Kellogg Foundation Evaluation Handbook. Battle Creek, MI: WK Kellogg Foundation. URL:
    (accessed 3 November 2005).


Acknowledgements v

Contents vii

Purpose and Background to this Guide 1

What is a Programme Logic Model? 3

Logic Model for Developing New Zealand Public Health Programmes 5

Informative Inputs 7

Research evidence 7

Relevant legislation and strategies 7

Resource and management guides 9

Summary of activities to implement this stage 10

Key Components and Associated Activities 11

Key component 1: Develop population health focus 11

Key component 2: Address the determinants of health 12

Key component 3: Reduce health inequalities 13

Key component 4: Address Māori health: He Korowai Oranga 14

Key component 5: Use evidence and examples of best practice 16

Key component 6: Maximise resources, prioritise and plan 18

Outputs 22

Key component 7: Select interventions 22

Key component 8: Develop project plan 32

Outcome 36

Appendix A: Examples of Public Health Programme Logic Models 37

Example 1: Comprehensive public health approach to New Zealand child oral health 37

Example 2: Road safety intervention logic model (Land Transport Safety Authority) 44

Example 3: Suicide prevention in communities (Victoria, Australia) 45

Example 4: Logic model to prevent falls (Canadian) 46

Example 5: Logic model to improve community access to medical clinic (WK Kellogg Foundation) 47

Appendix B: Checklist for Developing a Comprehensive Public Health Programme 48

Appendix C: Sample Matrix 1: Plotting Interventions 50

1 Build healthy public policy 50

2 Create supportive environments 50

3 Strengthen community action 50

4 Develop life skills and resilience 50

5 Reorient health services 50

Appendix D: Sample Matrix 2: Plotting Interventions 51

References 52

Purpose and Background to this Guide

This guide is to help people design and implement comprehensive, effective and measurable public health programmes that will deliver improved public health outcomes.
By developing a systematic programme logic for each public health programme, we aim to be able answer questions such as the following.

  • How do we know the programme delivered better health? Are we measuring the outcomes adequately?

  • What components are missing from the programme?

  • Was resourcing adequate for each component of the programme and for the programme as a whole?

  • Was the intervention mix effective? Was it based on evidence and/or did it generate new evidence? Does it adequately address all five strands of the 1986 Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion?

  • Do new interventions need to be developed to have a comprehensive range of interventions available for each component of the programme?

  • Which parts of the programme are working? Which parts of the programme are not working? Do resources need to be refocused?

A comprehensive programme should include a range of interventions consistent with the Ottawa Charter’s principles of:

  • promoting healthy public policy

  • creating supportive environments

  • strengthening community action

  • developing personal skills

  • reorienting health services.

In the New Zealand context, a comprehensive programme should focus on:

  • a defined population’s health

  • addressing the determinants of health

  • reducing health inequalities

  • addressing Māori health by promoting the concept of whanāu ora

  • using evidence-based interventions

  • maximising the resources available

  • being outcomes focused.

The development of such programmes is an ambitious task; this guide is to help make it happen. The guide describes a generic programme logic model and checklist that are designed to guide people through the steps of developing a thorough public health programme. At the end of the process, a specific programme logic model and associated implementation plan should be written for every public health programme. While each programme model may differ in how it looks, each should contain the components described in this document.

The guide has been developed as the first of three steps aimed at progressing objective five of Achieving Health for All People: ‘achieving measurable progress on public health outcomes’ (Ministry of Health 2003). The other two steps involve trialling the generic logic model against existing public health programmes and developing and refining the model after the trials as new programmes are developed.
The guide is intended to be a living document that is revised with experience and new developments. It attempts to strike a balance between providing a general overview of the process with clear ‘how to’ guidance, while refraining from being too prescriptive, and remaining a manageable size. Your comments on the usefulness or otherwise of the guide are welcome, especially suggestions on how it may be improved. These should be directed to John Wren by email:

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