OBJECTIVES: We evaluated the World Health Organization’s rapid assessment and response (RAR) method of assessing injection drug use and its associated health problems, focusing on knowledge gain, capacity building, and whether RAR leads to the development of interventions reducing the health effects of injection drug use. METHODS: Data were derived from RAR studies conducted in Beijing, China; Bogota, Colombia; Greater Rosario, Argentina; Hanoi, Vietnam; Kharkiv, Ukraine; Minsk, Belarus; Nairobi, Kenya; Penang, Malaysia; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Tehran, Iran. RESULTS: Substantial gains in knowledge and response capacity were reported at all of the study sites. Before RAR initiation, prevention and intervention programs had been absent or inadequate at most of the sites. The RARs resulted in many new or modified interventions; 7 sites reported 24 health-related interventions that were subsequently developed and influenced by the RARs. CONCLUSIONS: RARs, which require relatively little external funding, appear to be effective in linking assessment to development of appropriate interventions. The present results add to the evidence that rapid assessment is an important public health tool.
Rapid assessment and response studies of injection drug use: Knowledge gain, capacity building, and intervention development in a multisite study
American Journal of Public Health, 96 (2), 288-295. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2003.035899. PMCID: PMC1470497.