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.
In July 2017, the IDS hosted a workshop in collaboration with Future Health Systems, the Impact Initiative, the Open Society Foundations, Unequal Voices, and Health Systems Global, to develop new thinking and practical approaches to improving accountability relationships and processes in favour of greater health equity.
This new issue of the IDS Bulletin focusses on three principal themes that emerged from this workshop as needing particular attention. First, the nature of accountability politics ‘in time’ and the importance of longitudinal approaches to change. 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.
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