Governance: The Big Enabler

Jim Rice

Former LMG Project Director

Mahesh Shukla

Senior Technical Advisor for Public Sector Governance

The Third Global Governance for Health Roundtable will be held in Cape Town, South Africa September 29-30th prior the the Third Global Symposium on Health Systems Research. The Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project is collaborating on the Roundtable with the Health Policy Project and the Health Finance and Governance Project

The Global Governance for Health Roundtable is convening for the third time in Cape Town, South Africa this month. Bringing together policy makers, public health professionals, academics, and civil society representatives, the two day event will explore how good governance can be the big enabler for health system strengthening, increased health services utilization, and greater health outcomes.

How does good governance have such widespread impact? It creates the policy and resource availability conditions in which those who deliver, manage or lead health services organizations are more likely to have access to essential ingredients.  People, money, medicines, and information - just to name a few - are components to successfully define needs, and then design, develop, operate and continuously improve services and programs to meet those needs.

Governance can ensure health workers in the right numbers, of the right types of jobs, and with the right knowledge, skills and attitudes.

Governance can place service delivery venues in the right places, with the right medicines, supplies, commodities and equipment to deliver services of good quality.

Governance can influence services that are understood by the target populations to be appropriate, accessible, affordable and accountable for their unique needs, culture and language.

The Third Global Governance for Health Roundtable will analyze and discuss how the enabling role of governance can be optimized. But for those who lead and participate in the governance process, there are five key practices that have come from the previous two Global Governance for Health Roundtables:

  1. Establish a culture that expects and facilitates decision making that is transparent and accountable to the people served and inspires trust in the health sytem;
  2. Engages diverse stakeholders to define wise plans and programs to protect, promote and restore health of high risk populations
  3. Sets sensible strategic plans that guide the work of individuals and institutions for stronger health systems and greater health outcomes;
  4. Assembles and deploys, as wise stewards, a community’s or country’s human, financial and technological resources; and ensure
  5. Is committed to continuously improves its work in the above four practices to ensure that participants see that their time and talents.

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Photo Credit: Todd Shapera, 2013