Making Decentralization Work: Policy and Management Issues and Implications of COVID-19

Taryn vian

Making Decentralization Work: Policy and Management Issues
And Implications of COVID-19

July 13-23, 2021

Online Program

Application Deadline:  June 15, 2021

Download an application (Microsoft Word Document will take a moment to load) 

Is decentralization good for improving the performance of a health system?  This is a recurrent issue debated in many countries and made even more important during the COVID-19 outbreak, as different levels of government try to rapidly respond to the crisis.  This course introduces new ways to think about decentralization and to design it so that it improves the performance of a health system.  Based on on-going research and consulting, the course addresses both policy and management issues related to designing, implementing and managing a decentralization transition.  Topics include: financial options, human resources implications, strategic planning, political feasibility, leadership and organizational change, quality management, and negotiation and conflict resolution  Experienced Harvard faculty members have developed this eight-day (over two weeks) comprehensive workshop to better equip policy makers and managers to meet the challenges of decentralization–now even more relevant in the age of COVID and other potential outbreaks.  In its new online format, the first week will address the policy level process while the second week will focus on enhancing management skills in the context of decentralization.

The focus of the course is on middle and lower income countries; but examples from all over the world including the United States and Europe will be used.

Course Topics

  • Health System Decentralization: Approaches, Policy Options and COVID-19
  • Financing Options for Decentralized System
  • Human Resources in Decentralized Health Systems
  • Political Feasibility and Political Strategies Using “Policy Maker” software
  • Strategic Management and Quality Management
  • Leadership
  • Negotiation and Conflict Resolution
  • Managing Organizational Change
  • Lessons for COVID-19 (included in all sessions)

Who Should Join
This workshop has been designed for experienced, senior managers and policy-makers in developing and transitional economies. Officials who are concerned about implementing greater managerial autonomy in previously rigid government bureaucracies will find the experience very useful. Policy makers and managers will be expected from both government and non-government organizations.

Online Educational Approach
This interactive, online course offers a blend of theory and practice, geared to an audience focused upon policy design and implementation.  Included throughout the course are both prerecorded lectures and live synchronous sessions, polling, online Q&A, breakout groups, case studies, problem sets, and preparation of group and individual case presentations.  Virtual classroom points will most often be made through interactive learning methods, rather than through lectures. Facilitated online discussion among experienced participants is expected throughout. Participants are encouraged to have on hand their own country material and resources on health systems related to the process of decentralization and management and useful in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Course Directors
Dr. Thomas J. Bossert will lecture on decentralization. He is a senior lecturer on Health Policy and Senior Political Scientist in the Department of Global Health and Population, and the director of the Politics Governance Group and International Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He has directed technical assistance projects and applied research in Latin America, Asia and Africa on decentralization, institutional transformation and health policy reform.

Dr. Diana Bowser will lecture on health system assessments and stakeholder analysis.  Her primary academic appointment is at Brandeis University. She is Associate Professor and Director of the Masters in Science Program in Global Health Policy and Management. She has 19 years of experience in health system analysis related to health economics, health policy, and using econometric methods to evaluate health system changes in Latin America, Africa, and the United States. She has provided technical assistance and conducted research with funding from USAID, DFID, WHO, the Global Fund, Save the Children, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, IADB, NIH, and the World Bank. She has worked closely with the following governments on these policy issues: Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Ghana, Namibia, Swaziland, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, Saint Lucia, Dominica, Ukraine, Kosovo, Bangladesh, and Malaysia.





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