This chapter examines first step in any planning process: situational analysis. The purpose of a situational analysis is to provide a broad basis of understanding. This is for two reasons. Firstly, it provides a common reference point for the rest of the planning process; and secondly, it provides the background for the selection of priority areas of concern for planning. The key content of a situational analysis are discussed: population characteristics, area characteristics and infrastructure, health needs, policy and political environment, health needs, health services, resources, and the efficiency, effectiveness, equity, and quality of current services.
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