Governance and participation in health

The roles of educators in mitigating the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on the education system in South Africa
Higher Education HIV/AIDS Programme: December 2009

The purpose of this study was to determine the roles of educators in mitigating the impact of the HIV and AIDS pandemic, and to ascertain the skills and knowledge required by them to play such roles effectively. The study gathered data from 3,678 survey respondents to a questionnaire. Qualitative fieldwork showed that levels of concern among educators were polarised with respect to HIV and AIDS pandemic, ranging from lack of concern and denial of its importance to extreme concern and a strong sense of ethical responsibility to mitigate its impact. However, most respondents displayed a very high level of concern regarding the pandemic. They pointed to an urgent need for training and resources for future roles. The study made four recommendations. It urged for a resolution to South Africa's current strategic dilemma, namely whether to prescribe approaches to mitigating the impact of the pandemic or allow individuals and institutions to develop their own responses. It also called for curriculum interventions that meet the challenges of the pandemic, differentiated interventions that enable educators to meet the challenges of the pandemic and more time to develop appropriate resources and support, including training.

The shrinking space for civil society and changing donor dynamics
Tiwana M: CIVICUS Civil Society Watch, 26 July 2008

A dominant theme at DENIVA’S 4th International Conference on NGO Accountability, Self Regulation and the Law at Kampala was the shrinking space for civil society. This global trend is reported to be affirmed by the findings of the CIVICUS Civil Society Index, given the particular context of the global “war on terror”. Sadly, even in well-entrenched democracies, where civil society space was hitherto considered safe, there are negative trends. In current circumstances, it is critical that the international community remains alive to the steady roll back on civil society space and hard fought civil liberties across the world. This imperative is underscored by the economic meltdown in ‘western democracies’ where much of the funding for democratic reform and civil society initiatives comes from. Ensuring the sustainability of civil society organisations working on the advancement of health, human and democratic rights is one such means.

The slow shipwreck of the World Health Organization?
Velasquez G; Alas M: Third World Network Info Service, May 2016

In this article the authors argue that the World Health Organisation (WHO) Secretariat, Member States and observers should honestly admit that they have so far fallen very short of the WHO Mission. The authors argue that the organization has become a huge bureaucratic structure while at the same time under-resourcing its needs has made it incapable of providing a timely response to the urgent health needs happening in the world. The organization is argued to be being privatized with influence from small group of private funders. This authors observe that the limited participation sometimes turns into an uncomfortable position for many, when faced with the lack of progress in the debates or with the endless diplomatic language that is used without reaching any concrete agreements and with resolutions and decisions where that make it almost impossible to identify the substance and therefore difficult to see their real value. In the meantime millions of diseases and preventable deaths are happening far away from what is being discussed at “the highest levels” of international public health policy arena.

The State of Civil Society 2013 Report
CIVICUS: April 2013

The State of Civil Society 2013 Report presents insights from over 50 civil society experts from around the world. Alongside the report, CIVICUS is publishing a draft methodology for an Enabling Environment Index (EEI) that seeks to measure how well countries around the world are doing on creating positive conditions for civil society. Amidst the challenges facing civil society, the 2013 report highlights good practices around the world and challenges on the horizon for citizens and civil society around the world, such as: rising fundamentalism threatening women's and sexual minorities rights movements; challenges to democracy in Africa, with case studies from Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda; the state of the internet and access to information; threats to writers, journalists and trade unionists; and civil society successes.

The state of HIV sector local governance in Malawi and Zambia: Evidence from five districts
Steyn J: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance 15, 128-140, 2014

This paper reports on a project that aimed to improve the levels of HIV governance at the district level in Malawi and Zambia by encouraging public participation in an effort to more effective use of local resources. The methodology for this project included a barometer which assessed perceptions among key stakeholders on effectiveness, efficiency, rule of law, accountability, participation and equity at district level. The stakeholders ranged from administrators, political representatives, community-based organisations and the private sector on the supply side and citizens on the demand or beneficiary side. Communication and transparency appear to be major issues underpinning the bottlenecks and shortcomings in the HIV sector governance at the district level. Information gaps have given rise to accountability deficits and coordination deficiencies. Addressing these matters would make more effective use of resources and lessen dependence on external funding sources.

The Sub-Saharan Media Landscape - Then, Now and in the Future
Balancing Act: August 2014

Focus groups, one-to-one interviewees and surveys in Ghana, Senegal and
Tanzania, Nigeria. Ethiopia and South Africa provided the evidence cited in this research report. They were asked what had changed most about media and communications in the last five years. Two responses were common to all those who took part: the greater amount of media available and the presence of the Internet. These key changes have created haves and the have-nots. On almost every media measure, those living in rural Africa are at a disadvantage to their urban counterparts. The research found that over five years Facebook has grown from practically no users in Sub-Saharan Africa to become the most widely used social media platform, and the number of Africans who own or have access to mobile phones, computers, laptops, smartphones and tablets has grown considerably. Based on trends the authors predict that smartphone use will grow to between 10-20% of the population depending on the country, as will phones with internet access. While the current pattern of mobile phone use in the countries in focus has largely been voice and SMS, the numbers accessing the internet and social media is projected to grow over the next five years to between 10-25% of the population depending on the country.

The treatment action campaign and the three dimensions of lawyering: Reflections from the rainbow nation
Ahmad H: Journal of Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS 10(1) 16-24: March 2013

The spread and perpetuation of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in South Africa has hindered the country’s social and economic growth after apartheid. This paper documents experiences of interactions with the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), an organization which has taken a multidimensional approach in order to educate people about HIV/AIDS and to provide access to medicines. It reports how TAC has used both traditional and non-traditional methods of advocacy to combat the epidemic and equate access to health care to a social justice issue by empowering marginalized communities. The author uses three dimensions of lawyering and equates TAC to a single cause lawyer, signifying that multi-dimensional activism is not limited to individuals, but can also be applied at the firm level. The three dimensions include: (a) advocacy through litigation, (b) advocacy in stimulating progressive change, and (c) advocacy as a pedagogic process. He suggests that TAC’s multi-dimensional approach and its inherent practice of the three dimensions has contributed to its success and may be useful for other processes.

The Tunis Consensus: Targeting effective development: From aid effectiveness to development effectiveness
African Development Bank Group, NEPAD and African Union: December 2010

On 4 and 5 November 2010, representatives from across Africa met in Tunis to discuss an African agenda on development effectiveness to take to the Fourth High-Level Forum in Busan in 2011. The Tunis Consensus on an African development effectiveness agenda consists of the following main items: building capable states, with African countries taking leadership on capacity development; developing democratic accountability; promoting South-South co-operation; embracing new development partners; and outgrowing aid dependence.

The Use Of Information And Communication Technology, And Social Networking Sites In Political Governance Of East African Legislative Assembly Parliament
Robert A; Namusonge G: International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research 4(6), June 2016

This research project was carried out to ascertain the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Social Networking Sites (SNSs) in political governance of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Parliament. It was based on the conviction that in this era of globalisation use of ICTs and SNS‘s are fundamentally important and will have tremendous impact on governance, leadership and legislation. The findings showed that that all the parliamentarian respondents were subscribed to social networking sites and used them from time to time. The EALA parliamentarians had a disparity when it came to use of SNSs to interact with constituents, 73% indicated that they have used SNSs to interact with constituents on matters affecting the community from time to time however 27% did not. The use of ICTs and SNSs by EALA was argued by the authors to enable citizens to view Assembly proceedings in real time. The recommend that Parliamentarians in Africa embrace SNS‘s as major tools in interacting with and being accountable to their constituents.

The Value and Challenges of Participatory Research: Strengthening Its Practice
Cargo M and ­Mercer SL: Annual Review of Public Health 29: 325-350, 3 January 2008

The increasing use of participatory research (PR) approaches to address pressing public health issues reflects PR's potential for bridging gaps between research and practice, addressing social and environmental justice and enabling people to gain control over determinants of their health. This critical review of the PR literature culminates in the development of an integrative practice framework that features five essential domains and provides a structured process for developing and maintaining PR partnerships, designing and implementing PR efforts, and evaluating the intermediate and long-term outcomes of descriptive, etiological, and intervention PR studies. the paper reviews the empirical and nonempirical literature in the context of this practice framework to distill the key challenges and added value of PR. Advances to the practice of PR over the next decade will require establishing the effectiveness of PR in achieving health outcomes and linking PR practices, processes, and core elements to health outcomes.