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Context Print E-mail
Module 3: Optimize Potential Impact
Article Index
Inner Context
Outer Context
How do complex interventions interact
Examples of context and change
Features of Inner Context
Features of Outer Context
All Pages

What is context?

Broadly, context includes the surroundings, stimuli and other phenomena that influence program interventions. Context includes setting and location, as well as local, historical, and organizational structures and conditions.

Why is context important for multiple intervention programs?

Multiple intervention programs are based on a theoretical framework, a conceptual map of program iStock_000008589013XSmallintentions. But context influences interventions, producing intended and unintended consequences. When complex interventions don't work as expected, it may be unclear if the interventions failed (theoretical failure) or the context led to unintended effects. Considering the possible impact of an intervention’s context is an essential step in designing it, and the context may dictate whether multiple intervention programs are sustainable. Successful and sustainable multiple intervention programs recognize that:

  • The political, economic, social and technological contexts of new multiple intervention programs are critical to understanding and explaining their success or failure.
  • The context provides both constraints and opportunities for program intervention efficacy and success.
  • Contexts change, which can affect whether an intervention’s outcome is predictable; assessing the performance of public health programs and services must include consideration of their unique context.
  • Context can itself become an intervention. Working with partners across sectors may allow you to change the context that surrounds a health issue in a positive way.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 September 2009 18:30