Blog Posts by Jim Rice

{Photo credit: Rui Pires}Photo credit: Rui Pires

While at the World Federation of Public Health Associations meeting in India earlier this year, I met with a district health manager from Nigeria. He asked,

What is the value of having a District Health Council? It takes a lot of time to work with them; so what is the return on that invested time?

My Nigerian colleague is not the only one struggling to support the role of governing bodies. For years, governing bodies -– from district and provincial health councils to executive boards -– have been overlooked as valuable players in strengthening health systems.

“There are many examples of how investments in good governance lead to better health outcomes,” I said, “and many opportunities for supporting the under-supported leaders who govern through district health councils, hospital boards, or other governing bodies.”

We talked about how in the journey to stronger health system performance and greater health outcomes, it is not enough to have good leaders and managers to enable the talents of good health workers.

Strong health systems also need strong trustees serving on the organization’s governing body.

We determined that a good district health council -– or any good governing body –- amplifies the investment of time in at least three ways:

{Photo credit: Warren Zelman}Photo credit: Warren Zelman

The benefits of good health governance are far-reaching: Leaders who govern facilitate the work of health managers. Health managers facilitate the work of health service providers.
- Management Sciences for Health

On May 11-13, 2015, the USAID-funded Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), conducted an online seminar on LeaderNet titled Unleash the Power of Good Governance. Over the three-day seminar, 93 participants representing 75 organizations in 36 countries discussed challenges to good governance among public and civil society organizations, and how to overcome them. The seminar was offered in three languages: English, French and Spanish, and encouraged learning through source materials, the facilitators, and one another.

Three themes emerged from among the online discussion threads:

{Photo credit: Todd Shapera - Rwanda.}Photo credit: Todd Shapera - Rwanda.

This blog post is part of a series leading up to the 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland from May 19 – 24, 2014. In conjunction with the WHA, the Leadership, Management & Governance (LMG) Project will host a side session with global health leaders titled, “Governance for Health: Priorities for Post-2015 and Beyond”. This blog series will offer insight on how good governance in the health system can result in stronger health impact as we move beyond the Millennium Development Goals. This post originally appeared on the LMGforHealth Blog.

While substantial progress in the Millennium Development Goals will have been achieved in many countries by 2015, reductions in preventable maternal and infant deaths lags, and the persistent struggle of disease burdens from communicable and non-communicable diseases is worrying.

 {Photo credit: Rui Peres}Children in Uganda, one of many LMICs where good governance at all levels of the health system is key.Photo credit: Rui Peres

This post originally appeared on the LMGforHealth.org Blog. USAID's Leadership, Management and Governance (LMG) Project, led by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), hosted the Governance for Health (G4H) in Low- and Middle-Income Countries Roundtable 2013 (G4H2013) at Georgetown University in August.

The overwhelming consensus of G4H2013? Governance matters.

Health sector leaders gathered in Washington, D.C. in August for the second roundtable on enhanced governance for the health sectors of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Governance involves decisionmaking by diverse stakeholders that set the strategic direction for public and private organizations; assembling and allocating resources needed to implement the strategic plan; monitoring the progress of champions; and protecting the mission of the organization.

 {Photo credit: MSH/Paula Champagne}Constance Addo-Quaye, Deputy Director of Quality Insurance at National Health Insurance Authority, Ghana.Photo credit: MSH/Paula Champagne

Universal health coverage (UHC) is the ultimate accomplishment in health systems strengthening: UHC is achieved when a health system is strong enough to deliver high-quality products and services in a reliable, comprehensive and affordable way to its entire population. For the leaders who govern health systems, UHC is an ambitious and worthy goal. And as MSH President and CEO Jonathan Quick explains, success starts with their vision.

But what comes next? UHC carries unique governance challenges and can exacerbate existing challenges surrounding healthcare financing and service delivery. To overcome these challenges, leaders and managers will benefit greatly from sharing lessons from other health systems that are pursuing UHC or have achieved it already.

Private sector companies, like McDonald's and General Electric, have successfully been using internal universities or academies for decades. So how can programming for health service managers be better, more cost effective and more sustainable? Embed programming within special “Leadership Academies” based in ministries of health.

{Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Policy makers and health sector leaders in low- and middle-income countries are recognizing the value of smart governance for significant and sustained gains in health status outcomes. The new USAID Leadership, Management and Governance (LMG) project, led by MSH with a consortium of partners, is actively engaged in building the capacity and competencies of those expected to accomplish smart governance.

To explore smart governance, LMG convened a Roundtable on Governance for Health in low- and middle-income countries May 18, 2012, at The Brookings Institution in Washington DC.

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