Building a Governance Roadmap to Achieve Health Targets by 2030

Mahesh Shukla

Senior Technical Advisor for Public Sector Governance

Driving to 2030: Governance Roadmaps Toward Priority Health Targets. Click to learn more and download.

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The USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project organized the 4th Governance for Health Roundtable on September 29 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, with a sharp focus on governance’s role in achieving an AIDS-free generation, ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, and ending preventable child and maternal deaths.

The LMG Project organized three previous governance for health roundtables that focused on sharing experiences and exploring strategies for governance development. The typically day (or day and a half) long meetings of governance experts, leaders, and practitioners helped inform the LMG Project’s approach to governance development.

The 4th Governance for Health Roundtable: Building a roadmap to achieve health targets by 2030. (Photo: MSH Staff)

For the fourth roundtable, we wanted to be a bit ambitious and we wanted to think about the long-term. Governance largely is about the long-term, and despite progress, we feel the potential of governance has not been adequately harnessed to improve health system performance and health outcomes.

Achieving an AIDS-free generation, ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, and ending preventable child and maternal deaths are three of the top global health priorities for donors, nongovernmental organizations, and nations alike. Governance has the potential to accelerate the journey to these top health targets.

You may wonder: does governance differ in the three settings? The answer is a resounding “No.” The governance process, principles, and practices are the same; while governance challenges might differ.

Building a Roadmap

Harnessing governance’s full potential is essential to achieve our cherished long-term health goals, and that is why reflecting on challenges and opportunities during the fourth roundtable will help lay the foundation for a governance roadmap to 2030.

You may ask: “why fuss over the roadmap?” There is a reason for it. Roadmaps are a strategic management tool, and this governance roadmap to 2030 will have three essential ingredients: What governance decisions need to be made? When? And by whom?

In particular, the roadmap is expected to reflect three governance levels: local, national, and global; and four sets of governance actors: government, civil society, private sector, and donors and international agencies.  The influence of these actors may vary by level. For example, donors are influential governance actors at the global level because of the power of their purse, while governments are a dominant governance actor at national and subnational level because of its political power.

The day-long conference had three 90-minute thematic sessions, Governance for AIDS-Free Generation, Governance for Universal Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Services, and Governance for Ending Preventable Child and Maternal Deaths. Each session included structured time for a panel discussion and audience questions, as well as small roundtable discussions among participants. In the fourth session, the contours of a governance roadmap 2030 were synthesized from the deliberations during the previous three sessions.

The successful 4th Governance for Health Roundtable – with sixty governance experts, thought leaders, and practitioners participating – provided rich deliberations that will prove essential in the development of a governance roadmap to 2030.

This blog post is the second in a series of three blog posts around the 4th Governance for Health Roundtable that was held in Washington, DC, on September 29, 2016.