There Is Much to Learn When You Listen: Citizen Engagement in High- and Low-Income Countries
It is important engage and solicit feedback from citizens when developing the health care policies that will affect them. However, citizen engagement can be difficult to implement in practice – and often more so in low- and middle-income countries due to political, practical, and cultural factors.
This article examines the experiences of India, Malawi, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Mozambique, and Egypt in implementing community engagement initiatives. While these citizen engagement approaches and initiatives are mainly health service related, the infrastructure which already exists in the countries driving these efforts can be utilized to push for community engagement in health priority setting and policy development at the district level.
These initiatives can be used as successful example to guide future efforts in this arena. Having local participants on the ground, such as community health workers, as go-betweens, is also essential in identifying and applying the engagement approaches which will be the most beneficial in the specific contexts of each country.
Author’s manuscript can be downloaded below.