Title of Work

A community-academic partnership for program assessment of a pediatric post-surgical rehabilitation program: The case of the Plaster House in Tanzania

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

October 2021

Conference Location

Denver, Colorado and on-line


Context: The Plaster House in Arusha, Tanzania provides rehabilitative care for infants and children following orthopedic, plastic, neurological, or general surgeries. The rehabilitation center, established in 2008, wanted to create an evaluation plan. Few rehabilitative care assessment tools are appropriate to programs serving populations in low-income countries.Methods: The Plaster House partnered with an interdisciplinary faculty team (7 disciplines) from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN, USA. Through a 14-month iterative process, the team created an assets map, logic model and evaluation plan, and piloted assessment tools to track patient progress. An ecological framework guided the design of tools to define change at the individual, interpersonal, family and community levels.Results: For The Plaster House Team, the assets mapping process engaged the whole staff from project director and clinical team to gardeners, cooks, and housemothers. The naming of assets and reflections on social, behavioral and physical changes observed in the children enhanced collective efficacy of the program’s population impact. The evaluation plan strengthened their ability to communicate with donors and systematically track program changes. The academic team learned to hear, “That’s not going to work here” and move forward to co-create culturally and contextually appropriate tools.Conclusion and discussion: There are few assessment tools to measure individual, family and community change outcomes after surgery and rehabilitation for children in resource-limited settings. The final logic model and assessment tools could be adapted by programs internationally. The interprofessional community-academic partnership enhanced the quality and utility of the final products.

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