Learn Governing in the Context of Health in Eight Hours: USAID Unveils New Governance and Health eLearning Certificate Program

Mahesh Shukla

Senior Technical Advisor for Public Sector Governance

This blog was originally posted on the Knowledge for Health blog.

I struggled with the plateauing or even declining performance of a health service delivery organization I was supporting. I agonized over weaning another such organization away from relying on aid and becoming self-reliant. I spent sleepless nights wondering why yet another health sector organization was adrift, and how I could help it get onto a steady course and in a definitive direction. Increasingly, I am convinced that the answer lies in improving how these organizations are governed.

More attention has been paid to strengthening the health system building blocks closer to the clinical setting, such as health service delivery and medicines, vaccines, and technologies. Even gains from management and leadership development in healthcare settings are more widely known. However, we must realize that all these gains will eventually plateau and may even reverse if organizational governance is not prioritized and improved. Governance is a powerful enabler of an organization’s performance and sustainability. It ensures sound management, which, in turn, facilitates reliable and responsive health service delivery.

Cartoon illustration of a typical discussion in a public hospital governing board. (Source: MSH)

Governance is often assumed to be too complex and sensitive. To fill these gaps in awareness, knowledge, and practice of governance in the context of health service delivery organizations and the health sector as a whole, USAID’s Global Health eLearning Center has developed a three-course certificate program in Governance and Health. Five evidence-based practices of good governance (cultivating accountability, engaging stakeholders, setting shared strategic direction, stewarding resources, and continuous governance improvement) provide an organized, practical approach to governance development. This approach makes governance improvement accessible to health leaders and managers, and those who support them. The courses are especially relevant to health officers working in the field.

The certificate program comprises three courses that successively build upon each other, providing a plethora of real life examples, practical guidance and tools, and evidence from research that makes learning easy, enjoyable, and relevant. Learners also have the benefit of GHeL’s flexible eLearning platform; you can take the courses during the small chunks of free time that occur throughout your busy day.

If you perform a governing, managing, or service provision role in an organization delivering health or social services, or you support people who perform these roles, and you are looking for ways to improve your organization’s governance and performance, this certificate program is for you. Tools, techniques, and approaches provided in the courses in this certificate program will help you overcome your organizational governance and performance challenges.

Establishing gender-responsive governance is one of the domains of good governance. The Gender and Health Systems Strengthening course is complementary to this track, and we strongly recommend you consider taking it along with the three courses comprising the Governance and Health Certificate Program.