Programme Reporting Standards (PRS) for improving the reporting of sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health programmes

BMC Med Res Methodol. 2017 Aug 3;17(1):117. doi: 10.1186/s12874-017-0384-7.


Background: Information about design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation is central to understand the impact of programmes within the field of sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health (SRMNCAH). Existing reporting guidelines do not orient on reporting of contextual and implementation issues in sufficient detail. We therefore developed Programme Reporting Standards (PRS) to be used by SRMNCAH programme implementers and researchers.

Methods: Building on the first step of the PRS development (a systematic review to identify reporting items), we conducted a three-round online Delphi consensus survey with experts. Consensus was defined a-priori as 80% agreement of items as essential. This was followed by a technical consultation with a group of experts to refine the items, definitions and their structuring. The revised PRS was piloted to assess its relevance to current SRMNCAH programme reports and identify key issues regarding the use of the PRS.

Results: Of the 81 participants invited to the Delphi survey, 20 responded to all three rounds. In the final round, 27 items received consensus as essential; three items were ranked as "borderline" essential; 20 items as supplementary. The items were subsequently revised, followed by a technical consultation with 29 experts to further review and refine the PRS. The feedback resulted in substantial changes to the structure and content of the PRS into 24 items across five domains: Programme overview; Programme components and implementation; Monitoring of Implementation; Evaluation and Results; and Synthesis. This version was used in a piloting exercise, where questions regarding how much information to report and how to comment on the quality of the information reported were addressed. All items were kept in the PRS following the pilot although minor changes were made to the flow and description of items.

Conclusions: The PRS 1.0 is the result of a structured, collaborative process, including methods to incorporate input from SRMNCAH stakeholders. The World Health Organization will develop a document that explains the items in greater detail, and will also apply the PRS to on-going initiatives. We welcome continuous input from the field, while it is being used, to improve its relevance and usefulness.

Keywords: Context; Family planning; Guideline; Implementation; Intervention; Maternal Health; Programme; Public Health; Reporting; Safe abortion; Sexual and Reproductive Health.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health
  • Child
  • Child Health
  • Delphi Technique*
  • Humans
  • Infant Health
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Information Dissemination / methods*
  • Maternal Health
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Program Evaluation / standards
  • Reproductive Health
  • Research Design / standards
  • Research Report / standards
  • Sexual Health