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Engaging Civil Society in Health Finance and Governance: A Guide for Practitioners

Jeremy Kanthor, Barbara Seligman, Tesfaye Dereje, Lisa Tarantino


August 25, 2015
Governments and international donor organizations increasingly acknowledge the role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in strengthening health systems. By facilitating dialogue between government and citizens on issues of health sector priorities, performance, and accountability, CSOs can help to improve health service delivery and contribute to evidence-based policy. Often, however, CSOs lack the skills and tools needed to engage other stakeholders in issues of health finance and governance.

USAID's Health Finance and Governance (HFG) project guide provides governments and donors practical advice on engaging civil society in health finance and governance in order to meet health sector objectives and to improve health outcomes. Our guide describes the potential and limitations of civil society engagement entry points and presents an array of tools that may be used to do so.

Focusing specifically on the health sector, the HFG Guide offers practitioners a range of tools from which to choose based on the environment they work in and the objectives they seek to achieve. The guide emphasizes approaches that foster collaboration between public health officials and civil society that can improve access to and the quality of health services, ultimately contributing to improved health outcomes. This guide also seeks to provide practical mechanisms for how civil society engagement may be achieved, at the national, subnational, and community levels.

USAID’s HFG project will help to improve health in developing countries by expanding people’s access to health care. Led by Abt Associates, the project team will work with partner countries to increase their domestic resources for health, manage those precious resources more effectively, and make wise purchasing decisions.