The Health Finance and Governance Briefing Kit is designed to help journalists and their editors investigate and report on issues related to health - specifically the financing of health and the governance of health resources. It seeks to help journalists to more effectively highlight evidence-based health priorities, analyse health budgets, identify gaps between national health statistics and health spending, explain new health policies, fact-check sensational stories, and dispel rumours with facts. It was developed by the Health Finance and Governance (HFG) Project in collaboration with Internews Kenya’s Health Media Project.
The guide explains the important role of the media in improving health care delivery. By sharing news and feature stories about the challenges many people face in obtaining health care (these include transportation, doctors’ fees, medicine, hospitalisation bills, and days lost from work), they create awareness among national leaders and policymakers, as well as civil society groups who can advocate for changes to health budgets and policies.
However, as stated in the guide, “At the heart of these stories are important questions about the financing of health care and the quality of governance that ensures responsive and effective management of those resources and services.” And writing health finance and governance stories can be challenging. “Health finance is riddled with complex language, technical economic terms, and numbers – not necessarily a journalist’s comfort zone. The right sources for these stories can be difficult to identify and unwilling to talk. Data may be difficult to locate or to understand. And while corruption makes for splashy headlines, the broader systemic challenges of health governance are not widely understood – and yet they are important.”
The briefing kit is intended not only for the media, but also for civil society groups and health stakeholders who would like to engage in advocacy for health priorities in their communities and countries.
It is organised into the following sections:
- Examples of health finance and governance stories;
- Four important reasons for covering health finance and governance issues;
- Essential health finance resources and background materials;
- Essential health governance resources and background materials;
- Strategies for identifying and accessing key sources for health finance and governance issues;
- A glossary of essential key health finance and health governance terms and concepts with hyperlinks to primary sources;
- Tips for writing about health finance and governance topics, such as Universal Health Coverage (UHC) or resource tracking; and
- Links to media outlets for health finance and governance news.
Internews website on August 17 2016.