The 2013 – 2017 WFPHA Strategic Plan reaffirms the importance of improving organizational governance structures and processes, infrastructure and capacity as a key goal. In 2014, the WFPHA, in association with the Management Sciences for Health (MSH) and the School of Public Health/Witwatersrand University, conducted a survey of the Federation’s member public health associations, to assess their state of organizational governance and the factors that facilitate and impede ‘good governance’ and that affect the effectiveness of PHAs to influence policy and practice for population health and health equity gains.

The survey found the two most important factors that support governance effectiveness to be a high degree of integrity and ethical behavior of the PHA’ s leaders and the competence of people serving on the PHA’ s governing body. The lack of financial resources was considered as the most important factor that negatively affected organizational governance effectiveness. The lack of mentoring for future PHA leaders; ineffective or incompetent leadership; lack of understanding about good governance practices; and lack of accurate information for strategic planning were identified as factors influencing PHA governance effectiveness. Critical elements for PHA sustainability included diversity, gender -responsiveness and inclusive governance practices, and strategies to build the future generation of public health leaders.

The results of the survey, published in BMC Public Health (2016) 16:251, can be retrieved here.

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