A supportive policy environment is the foundation on which to scale up effective, sustainable health programs. Good policies are important, but they are not sufficient. They must be put into practice. Yet, even the best policies can encounter implementation challenges. Thus, the life of the policy does not end with its creation, which is in fact only the first step in the policy-to-action continuum. Policies are “living documents.” They require various inputs to help them thrive and fulfill their goals. These inputs include clear guidelines and implementation plans, strong leadership, multisectoral stakeholder involvement, adequate and accessible resources, and effective feedback and monitoring systems, among others.

The Policy Implementation Assessment Tool is designed to assist government and civil society advocates to “take the pulse” of policies in their countries. With this information, stakeholders can better understand policy implementation dynamics and identify recommendations for translating health policies into action. Through regular check-ups and renewed commitment, policies can keep on track toward achieving policy goals.

The links below provide access to the user manual and the interview guides, examples from country applications of the tool, and selected project readings on policy implementation. These materials can also be downloaded as a zip file from the Online CD page. If you have questions or feedback about this tool, please send an email to [email protected].


  • Policy Implementation Assessment Tool
    The tool is composed of two interview guides, one for policymakers and one for implementers. The interview guides are organized around seven dimensions that influence policy implementation: (1) the policy, its formulation, and dissemination; (2) socioeconomic and political context; (3) leadership for implementation; (4) stakeholder involvement in policy implementation; (5) planning and resource mobilization; (6) operations and services; and (7) feedback on progress and results. Excel spreadsheets for organizing data are also available.

  • Materials from Country Applications
    To date, the Health Policy Initiative has supported in-country core teams to use the tool to assess implementation of health, reproductive health, and HIV policies and plans in El Salvador, Guatemala, and India.

  • Selected Project Readings on Policy Implementation
    These resources from the Health Policy Initiative and its predecessor, the POLICY Project, provide additional guidance on assessing policy implementation.


USAID Health Policy Initiative

The USAID | Health Policy Initiative, Task Order 1, is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development under contract GPO-1-01-05-00040-00, beginning September 30, 2005. Task Order 1 is implemented by Futures Group, in collaboration with the Centre for Development and Population Activities (CEDPA), White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRA), and Futures Institute. Contact us at Health Policy Initiative | Futures Group | One Thomas Circle, NW, Suite 200 | Washington, DC 20005 USA | Tel: (202) 775-9680 | Email: [email protected] | Web: healthpolicyinitiative.com

MAY 2010