26 Sep 2008

The forty case studies commissioned by the Global Fund (see previous article) are very useful because they highlight what is and is not working well in a select group of CCMs. The best practices described in "A Report on the Country Coordinating Mechanism Model" should inspire CCMs that are looking to improve their performance. In addition, the weaknesses identified in the report can serve as a checklist against which CCMs can measure their own possible shortcomings.

The more detailed reports on each of the eight thematic areas that the Global Fund plans to release in the coming months should prove even more useful.

However, it is important not to assume that the findings of the report can be generalised across all CCMs. This is particularly true for individual thematic areas where, sometimes, the findings are based on only a handful of case studies.

The most obvious example of this is the first thematic area covered in the report - partnership and leadership - where, based on case studies in just five countries, the report emphatically declares that "strong civil society participation combined with the assumption that all CCM members are equal partners makes the innovative public/private partnership of the CCM a successful one." While this may have been the case for the five CCMs included in this section, there is considerable anecdotal evidence that suggests that in many CCMs the public-private partnership is not working well and civil society does not have an equal voice at the table.

Actually, the report contradicts itself on this matter: While the five case studies included in this section paint a very rosy picture of partnership, in the summary at the end of the section the report says that civil society still needs strengthening where governments dominate the public health arena. Furthermore, in the next section of the report - on governance and civil society participation - the report questions, in some case studies, whether civil society participation has been meaningful. It is difficult to envisage how CCMs can operate in true partnership if civil society's participation is not meaningful.

There is good value in this report, as long as one doesn't assume that its findings and conclusions apply across the board.

[David Garmaise (garmaise@aidspan.org) is Aidspan's Senior Analyst.]

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