Poor performance of health and population welfare programmes in Sindh: case studies in governance failure

Mehtab S. Karim, Shehla Zaidi

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Over the past few years, the issue of what is meant by “good governance” has generated increasing attention and debate both at the national and international level [Streeten (1997)]. The role of state and how that role is to be exercised is appearing high on the agenda of politicians, policy-makers and academicians in the developing world. Governance has been defined by the World Bank as “the manner in which power is exercised in the management of the country’s economic and social resources” [World Bank (1994)]. The somewhat narrow scope of this definition has been broadened in recent years to “the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs” [Commission on Global Governance (995)] The Human Development Report [UNDP (1999)] goes beyond these definitions and gives a much more radical notion of good governance, underpinning the importance of peoples’ participation in shaping their own governance and development. This type of governance has been labeled as “humane governance”. A review of existing literature thus shows that governance has been interpreted to have different elements such as management of economic and social resources for development, formulation and implementation of policies, discharging of functions, accommodation of diverse interests towards cooperative action and above all, accountability to people and ownership by the people of the governance process. In view of the above, one may ask what constitutes good governance for the health sector? Management of resources pertains to the concept of efficiency, a term appearing with increasing frequency in global literature on health care reforms; policy formulation and discharging of functions allude to the objective of effectiveness which itself has a wide scope encompassing relevance, quality and availability of health care; while “humane governance” brings in the notion of community participation and accountability with regards to decision-making and delivery of health care.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalCommunity Health Sciences
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1999

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