What do we mean by governance?
Governance is a structured process used by a group of people -- often referred to as a governing body, board, or council -- to make decisions about policy, plans, and rules of collective action for an organization or system. For health organizations, the focus of this collective action is strengthening health systems to expand access to quality health services and achieve sustainable gains in health outcomes
Is governance the same as leadership and management? No. But smart leaders invest time to develop smart governing bodies
. Smart governing bodies create the conditions in which health workers and program managers are more likely to secure the medicines, staff, equipment, supplies, and facilities they need to save lives and improve health. But, the work of governing bodies does not happen automatically.
Good governance is more likely realized when those who lead, manage, and deliver health services make a personal commitment to understand and demand it by exploring the many facets of good and poor governance, embracing good governance, and combating poor governance. We call this intentional governance.
I blog more about how intentional governance supports health workers, systems, and outcomes here.
Management Sciences for Health (MSH) is supporting intentional governance among governing bodies at national and sub-national levels of the health system around the globe, from Afghanistan village health councils
) to sub-national governing bodies in Uganda
, Kenya, Nigeria, and the multinational West African Health Organization
, among others.
This newsletter showcases some of these examples and provides tools and resources for you to start utilizing smarter, intentional governance today. By designing and institutionalizing smart governance practices, health organizations and health systems can perform better and deliver sustainable gains in health outcomes -- saving the lives of the most vulnerable women, children, and men.
Join us in the journey toward good governance for better health outcomes!
~ James A. Rice, PhD
Global Technical Lead, Governance
Management Sciences for Health