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Discussion Briefs

The Role of NGOs in Strengthening Health Systems

The growth in international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) working in health care around the globe raises questions on how they can best support governments to strengthen local health systems. Documents like the NGO Code of Conduct by Health Alliance International and Partners In Health’s Program Management Guide set forth ideas and suggestions for best practices for NGOs. The goal of this Expert Panel discussion was to extract key lessons learned from these documents and to engage health professionals from a wide range of perspectives to share their experiences.

The panelists included Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, Minister of Health in Rwanda, and practitioners from The Access Project, Health Alliance International, Partners In Health, and Tiyatien Health. Panelists and members addressed: the necessary elements of partnerships between NGOs and Ministries of Health; the challenges of administering joint programs; ways NGOs can build local human resource capacity; partnering with the public sector to meet infrastructure needs; and examples of successful partnerships.
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