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Summary

RAM-OP is a rapid assessment method for measuring the nutritional status and needs, and other related factors that affect older people in humanitarian situations. It includes a questionnaire, a sampling method, and software for data analysis. It allows humanitarian workers to gather evidence on the nutritional vulnerability of older people in emergencies and plan the response accordingly. Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund supported this innovation at two stages – pilot and scale.

Challenge(s) addressed

  • In emergencies, older people are rarely identified as a vulnerable group by ministries’ officials, non-governmental organisations or donors. Surveys and assessments largely focus on children, pregnant and lactating women. As a consequence, little information is available about the nutritional status and the needs of older people in emergencies, and these needs are thus going unaddressed.
  • Humanitarian workers often argue that the methodology for assessing the nutritional status of older people is costly and complicated. There is a need for more cost effective methods than the traditional SMART surveys.

Innovation Factor

RAM as a product is innovative because of its rapidity in providing statistically robust and precise information for humanitarian programming compared to currently used assessment methods.

Innovation Phases Description

  • Performance of RAM will be tested alongside that of traditional survey methods, specifically that of the cluster method used in SMART. Performance of RAM and SMART will be assessed using criteria adopted from the framework for assessing the appropriateness of assessment methods proposed by Sacket and Holland (1975), Beaton and Bengoa (1976) and Jelliffe and Jelliffe (1969) and further developed by Myatt et al (2006).
  • After the launch of the RAM-OP and its manual, HelpAge and its partners will monitor the use of this new method by carrying out electronic surveys targeting NGOs and ministries (done through Valid and HelpAge’s networks of local partners and through the Global Nutrition Cluster).

Key Deliverables / Impact

A rapid assessment method (RAM) to assess the needs of older people is needed in order to encourage and enable humanitarian organisations to identify the specific needs of this vulnerable group. This survey method would require less time, fewer staff, and would be less costly than the usual methods. RAM-OP can be used in both emergency situations and development contexts. It is hoped that by offering a simplified and cost-effective approach to nutritional surveys, humanitarian workers will be encouraged to consider older people and their needs, and, having a thorough knowledge of their nutritional needs, will implement appropriate feeding programmes targeting older people.

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Latest Updates

(Article) RAM-OP: A rapid assessment method for assessing the nutritional status, vulnerabilities, and needs of older people in emergency and development settings

1 Mar 2015

Older people are a neglected group in humanitarian responses. There is a need for a simple, cheap, and rapid tool to assess the nutrition and other needs of older people in humanitarian situations. A prototype Rapid Assessment Method for Older People (RAM-OP) was compared with the SMART method in a pilot in an urban/peri-urban setting in Ethiopia. RAM-OP survey results were comparable to the SMART survey at about two-thirds of the cost. Suggested changes to the RAM-OP method will be piloted in subsequent field trials.

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2015Mar

RAM-OP: why you should use it

24 Nov 2015

HelpAge International’s Emergency Humanitarian Health and Nutrition Adviser, Pascale Fritch, gives her insights on their newly launched innovation: RAM-OP – a low-cost tool to test the health needs of older people in emergencies.

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Nov

Final report

1 Feb 2016

In emergencies, older people are rarely identified as a vulnerable group by ministries’ officials, non-governmental organisations or donors. As a consequence, little information is available about the nutritional status and the needs of older people in emergencies. Furthermore, humanitarian workers often argue that the methodology for assessing the nutritional status of older people is costly and complicated. RAM-OP is a rapid assessment method for measuring the nutritional status and needs, and other related factors that affect older people in humanitarian situations. It includes a questionnaire, a sampling method, and software for data analysis. This final project report provides information on the project methodology, activities, outputs, impact and dissemination of learning.

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2016Feb

Including older people in needs assessments

26 Oct 2017

A lot of data is collected in the humanitarian space but specific information about older people is still very limited. We needed a methodology for data collection that would be accurate, cheap, replicable and easy to use compared with other methods. The Rapid Assessment Model for Older People (RAM-OP) by HelpAge has been running for 3.5 years as a partnership between ourselves, Valid International and Brixton Health.

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2017Oct

Rapid assessment method for older people opens eyes in Africa

1 Aug 2018

At the end of June, HelpAge International and partners organised a two-day workshop in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to train various UN, NGO and government organisations on how to use our innovative Rapid Assessment Method for Older People (RAM-OP).

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2018Aug

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