Experience shows that planners need to consider the effect of the process of decentralisation on national health programmes. The aim of this article is to explore the relationship between decentralisation and a national disease control programme by seeking to understand the views and attitudes of staff working in a national TB control programme on the process of change and their involvement in that change. The study to which this paper refers was performed in Nepal, where, in common with several low- and middle-income countries, a Local Self Governance Act has been passed and decentralisation is in the process of being introduced in the health sector. The aim of the study was to develop a process of initial dialogue among programme staff with a view to exemplifying those enabling and disabling factors which could influence the process and content of health systems development and its impact on health and health care. The study used individual interviews and group discussions to increase our understanding of the experience of different stakeholders at both national and district levels. Important problems identified include: confused lines of authority, difficulties of integrated supervision, poor career paths and promotion possibilities, unclear performance management, lack of priority to be given to health and TB control, lack of local accountability, lack of capacity and the risk to the drug supply. The study highlights the need to (a) develop consensus techniques, achieve a balanced appreciation and include all stakeholders in the process of change and (b) define central and local responsibilities, limiting political bias, maintaining quality control, organising different lines of authority, maintaining priorities and programme integration.
Newell, J.N.; Collins, C.D.; Baral, S.C.; Omar, M.A.; Pande, S.B. Decentralisation and TB control in Nepal: understanding the views of TB control staff. Health Policy (2005) 73 (2) 212-227. [DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2004.11.014]