Towards accountability for health equity: galvanising a movement for UHC

Photo: Student midwife and her patients in Bombali District, Sierra Leone. Credit: Abbie Trayler-Smith/H4+/Panos.

10/05/2018

Since the publication of the 2004 World Development Report a range of different attempts have been made to make the design, prioritisation and delivery of health services more accountable to different stakeholders. However, complex politics and power dynamics can limit or skew people's abilities to access services or hold them to account, particularly for poor and marginalized people.

This month (May 2018), the Institute of Development Studies, in collaboration with Future Health Systems, the Impact Initiative, the Open Society Foundations, and Unequal Voices, publishes a new edition of the IDS Bulletin focusing on ‘Accountability for Health Equity’, which places relationships of power at the centre of our understanding of how health systems function – or don’t – for all levels of society. The issue includes draws on research enabled by the ESRC-DFID strategic partnership.

Accountability for Health Webinar on 17 May 2018

To mark the launch of this timely publication, and to consider the key learning and implications for actions to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC), UHC2030 hosted a webinar from 4PM to 5PM Europe Summer Time (GMT+ 02:00) on Thursday 17 May 2018. 
 
Contributing to the webinar:
This event is now closed.

About the IDS Bulletin on Accountability for Health Equity 

This issue of the IDS Bulletin is based around three principal themes that emerged from an international workshop hosted at IDS in July 2017, which aimed to foster dialogue and mutual learning among activists, researchers, policymakers, and funders working towards more equitable health systems and a commitment to Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
 
The first theme is the nature of accountability politics ‘in time’ and the cyclical aspects of efforts towards accountability for health equity. Second, the contested politics of ‘naming’ and measuring accountability, and the intersecting dimensions of marginalisation and exclusion that are missing from current debates. Third, the shifting nature of power in global health and new configurations of health actors, social contracts, and the role of technology. The Bulletin concludes with a proposal for long-term approaches to institutionalisation of pro-equity accountability processes, such as through formal structures like community health committees and oversight bodies.

For the first time in IDS Bulletin history, themes are explored not only in text but also through a selection of online multimedia content, including a workshop video, a photo story and a documentary short. This expansion into other forms of communication is explicitly aimed at galvanising larger numbers of people in a movement towards UHC and the linked agenda of accountability for health equity.
 
The articles and multimedia in this IDS Bulletin reflect the fact that while the desired outcome might be the same – better health for all – accountability strategies are as diverse as the contexts in which they have developed. 
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This article was first published on the IDS website on 3rd May 2018.