The project mission was to review and evaluate the operations of the Sanitation Facilities Construction Branch (SFCB) of the Oklahoma Area Office of Environmental Health. The information presented is most relevant to projects involving construction (sanitation and water), but the general principles and sequences are pertinent to most environmental health projects. The evaluation plan suggested that the Advisory Board use is consumer rather than engineering oriented. This means, it focuses on the human needs to be served and the extent to which a project will fulfill such needs. The crucial questions in the case of environmental health are whether or not the project will result in a significant reduction of an identified health problem, and whether or not it will be acceptable to the beneficiaries. The project produced a practical guide for use in evaluating water and sanitation projects undertaken by the Oklahoma Area Office of Environmental Health. A table was produced comparing the appropriations by Service Units, area, personnel, and job descriptions. A project evaluation worksheet has been prepared for the Advisory Board's use in evaluating selected construction projects, along with an optional sheet for detailed analysis. A narrative evaluation of the Sanitation Facilities Construction Branch activities was given, with a full review of on-site visitations. There was also a review of recent documents supplied by SFCB, which accurately reflect the current status and problems of OEH operations. These documents provide an excellent overview of the contemporary activities of SFCB, and placed these activities in the perspective of the other governmental agencies with which OEH must interact to accomplish its mission. The study conducted a review and on-site visitation by Board and Staff members of six current SFCB projects. A description of the project, general information and a statistical summary was given for each project. The major efforts of the project were directed toward the development of Staff and Board understanding of the goals and procedures of the Branch. A manual was produced to be disseminated to appropriate Indian individuals and groups, particularly Indian Housing Authorities throughout the Oklahoma area for their use in initiating, planning, and evaluating projects. The operational effectiveness of SFCB must take into consideration the formidable coordination problems encountered in the implementation of each project. There are three matters of primary concern stemming from the evaluation studies. First, there is an urgent need to have a reinstatement of regular programs as a standard budget category of OEH. Second, there is a critical problem concerning the operation and maintenance of water and sanitation facilities in the Oklahoma City area once ownership of the facilities have been passed to individuals and Tribal groups. The third matter concerns the significant number of important environmental health functions which, for the lack of funds and personnel, are not currently being carried out by Oklahoma Area Office of Environmental Health. The authors recommend the Advisory Board request IHS to transfer responsibilities for these and other closely related functions to Indian Tribal Organizations.
Indian Health Service, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research, Rockville, MD 20857 (E-62).
Evaluation of environmental health projects - a practical guide. Indian Health Service, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research, Rockville, MD 20857 (E-62). 1975