Leadership, Management, and Governance for Inclusive Health

Jason Wright

Health Programs Group Senior Director, Project Implementation (and former LMG Project Director)

© 2005 Comfort Idagba, Courtesy of Photoshare

Jason Wright is the Director of the Leadership, Management, and Governance Project.

Persons with disabilities and other marginalized populations such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and people living with HIV/AIDS face widespread barriers to accessing services and tend to have high rates of poor health outcomes, less economic participation, and higher rates of poverty than marginalized or vulnerable populations.[1] Women, older people, and the poor are disproportionately affected by disability, and women with disabilities face a double burden—experiencing exclusion on account of their gender as well.[2]

Traditional power structures result in discriminatory practices which lead to barriers to health services and information, as well as limit participation – thereby hindering accountability of the health system to the community that it serves. Some of the barriers to accessing health services and participating in health decision-making are physical, such as inaccessible buildings and transport; some are institutional, such as inadequate policies and information; others are attitudinal, such as stigma.[3]

These remain key factors disproportionately exclude women and historically marginalized populations from health care. Inequities in access to health care are interrelated with broader social determinants, including education and livelihoods.

Strong leadership, management, and governance can build bridges for women and other historically marginalized populations to access services and improve public health.

What is inclusive health?

The Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project’s view of health for all encompasses the concept of inclusive health. Inclusive health requires deliberately focusing on galvanizing specific populations to identify their particular needs and equipping health leaders, providers, and systems to be able to meet those particular needs in mainstream health services and programs. Furthermore, a concerted effort to develop the capacity of vulnerable populations to assume leadership and decision-making roles in their health system is critical. Strengthening these accountability and empowerment capacities is an integral part of many of the LMG Project’s programs around the world.

Many of the LMG Project’s activities work directly with women and traditionally marginalized populations to increase their capacity to lead change efforts to improve their health. Additionally, the LMG Project works with government, professional associations and civil society to address the health inequities in their societies to increase their responsiveness, transparency, and accountability to the communities they serve.   

How do you achieve inclusive health?

By strengthening organizations that serve historically marginalized populations, mainstreaming approaches that support these populations within traditional health service delivery institutions, or helping them to scale up approaches that have already been proven successful to reach a larger audience, the LMG Project is contributing to improved services, sustainable programs, and more effective, inclusive, participatory, and representative health systems.

In this edition of the LMG Newsletter, learn more about what you can do as a health manager and leader to have more inclusive programming to reach vulnerable populations:

Advancing Physical Rehabilitation Services and Disability Rights with Senior Leadership Programs

Championing Less Invasive and More Effective Treatment for Clubfoot in in Pakistan

Supporting Women with Disabilities to Become Community Leaders

Building Worldwide Capacity for Torture Rehabilitation

Increasing Access to HIV/AIDS programming for MSM in the Middle East/North Africa Region

[1] Draft WHO global disability action plan 2014-2021: Better health for all people with disability (2014)

[2] World Report on Disability, World Health Organization and World Bank (2011)