During 2014, the World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA) conducted an on-line survey of its 82 PHA members, to identify the state of organizational governance of national public health associations, as well as the factors that influence optimal organizational governance. Responses were received from 62 PHAs. The two most important factors that support governance effectiveness were a high degree of integrity and ethical behavior of the PHA’s leaders (77%) and the competence of people serving on the PHA’s governing body (76%). Lack of financial resources was considered the most important factor that negatively affected organizational governance effectiveness (73%). Lack of mentoring for future PHA leaders; ineffective or incompetent leadership; lack of understanding about good governance practices; and lack of accurate information for strategic planning were identified as factors influencing PHA governance effectiveness. Critical elements for PHA sustainability included diversity, gender-responsiveness and inclusive governance practices, and strategies to build the future generation of public health leaders.

We piloted an intervention that placed a people-centred health systems governance approach in the hands of multi-stakeholder committees that govern provincial and district health systems in Afghanistan. We report the results of this intervention from three provinces and eleven districts in Afghanistan over a six month period. This mixed-methods exploratory case study uses analysis of governance self-assessment scores, health management information system data on health system performance, and focus group discussions. The outcomes of interest are governance scores and health system performance indicators. We document the application of a people-centred health systems governance conceptual model based on applying four effective governing practices: cultivating accountability, engaging with stakeholders, setting a shared strategic direction, and stewarding resources responsibly. We found that health systems governance can be improved in fragile and conflict affected environments, and that consistent application of the effective governing practices is key to improving governance. Intervention was associated with a 20% increase in antenatal care visit rate in pilot provinces.

Abstract An increasing number of countries are exploring the introduction or expansion of autonomous hospitals as one of the numerous health reforms they are introducing to their health system. Hospital autonomy is one of the forms of decentralization that is focused on a specific institution rather than on a political unit.

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