Advocacy: How-to: Analysis

The first step in developing an advocacy program is Analysis, which consists of both doing research and interpreting the information found. On the research side of things, you would dig deep into the situation in order to understand questions like:

  1. What is the situation presently? Who is doing what, where, and how does it impact you or those for whom you advocate?
  2. What are the challenges and shortcomings presented by this situation? What are the blockages that need to be cleared in order to achieve an ideal scenario?
  3. Who are the main actors in the situation? Who else has a stake in the challenges and shortcomings identified above? What are their interests? Who influences them?
  4. What has the situation looked like before, and how is it likely to look in the future? Is now a time that may be propitious to change?
  5. How do you or your organization fit into that context?

Some sources to consult in order to answer these questions are:

  • Scholarship
  • News stories
  • Annual reports, other public relations literature by relevant organization
  • One-on-one interviews, meetings, and email correspondence
  • Expert opinions
  • Meeting minutes

Note that checking your facts against third party sources is a must: do not skip this step! You can do it as you go along.

With particular reference to micro-elimination and hepatitis C epidemics, some things to keep in mind in your analysis are:

  • Drugs: Which drug regimens are being used? Which are available? Which ones are not? Why are they not? Is pricing of the drugs making scale-up unaffordable or cost-ineffective? Are there problems with the supply chain?
  • Screening tools: Which screening tools are being used? Which are available? Which ones are not? Why are they not? Is pricing an issue? Are there problems with the supply chain?
  • Care models: How is hepatitis C treatment and screening carried out, in the main? Is treatment provided in hospitals by specialists, or by primary practitioners in outpatient clinics? How is screening carried out? By whom? Must people request screening or is provided as a matter of course? What are the barriers between people and knowledge of their status?
  • Funding sources: Who is funding hepatitis C screening and treatment: private sector the public sector? Is this funding adequate to cover all needs and all patients now? Would it be if there was a massive scale-up of screening and treatment?
  • Law and policy: Are laws and policies hindering the progress of scale-up for hepatitis C? Is hepatitis C recognized as a salient health issue within the public and private health care sector, government, society? If not, why not? Is it a reportable disease? Are there laws around importation, care provision, or production that stymie large-scale mobilization of resources around hepatitis C? What do the most-used treatment and screening protocols advise, and is that advice workable for scale-up?
  • Implementation: How many organizations are capable of participating in the response to hepatitis C? How many are currently responding?
  • Administrative procedures: Are there administrative procedures that negatively impact access and care provision? For example, do patients require specific identity documents or a fixed domicile in order to benefit from treatment?