Strengthening social accountability in ways that build inclusion, institutionalization and scale: reflections on FHS experience

Sara Bennett, Eizabeth Ekirapa-Kiracho, Shehrin Shaila Mahmood, Ligia Paina, David H. Peters

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


This editorial provides an introduction to the special issue on “Lessons about intervening in accountability ecosystems: implementation of community scorecards in Bangladesh and Uganda”. We start by describing the rationale for this work in the two study countries. While our project, the Future Health Systems (FHS) project, had been working over the course of more than a decade to strengthen health services, particularly for low income households in rural areas, our teams increasingly recognized how difficult it would be to sustain service improvements without fundamental changes to local accountabilities. Accordingly, in the final phase of the project 2016–2018, we designed, implemented and assessed community scorecard initiatives, in both Bangladesh and Uganda, with the aim of informing the design of a scalable social accountability initiative that could fundamentally shift the dynamics of health system accountability in favor of the poor and marginalized. We describe the particular characteristics of our approach to this task. Specifically we (i) conducted a mapping of accountabilities in each of the contexts so as to understand how our actions may interact with existing accountability mechanisms (ii) developed detailed theories of change that unpacked the mechanisms through which we anticipated the community scorecards would have effect, as well as how they would be institutionalized; and (iii) monitored closely the extent of inclusion and the equity effects of the scorecards. In summarizing this approach, we articulate the contributions made by different papers in this volume.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number220
JournalInternational journal for equity in health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Community score cards
  • Inclusion
  • Scale-up
  • Social accountability
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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