The power of relational leadership in primary health care settings: Lessons from the DIALHS collaboration in Cape Town, South Africa

RESYST , 2018
South Africa

Strong management and leadership competencies are critical to resilient and responsive health systems, especially in low-and middle-income country settings, which are often characterised by resource scarcities and recurrent crises.

The need for strong leadership does not only apply to high-level managers, but to actors at all levels of the health system including those responsible for managing primary health care facilities and district services.

Over 5 years, researchers, sub-district managers and primary health care facility managers worked together to better understand leadership and management in a particular setting within the City of Cape Town. Together they developed several interventions that aimed to develiop relational leadership - a style of leadership that focuses on strengthening relationships between actors.

This brief describes these interventions and analyses the impact they had on leadership. It also  provides recommendations for policymakers and gealth managers for improving relational leadership in primary health care settings. 

Related resources

  • Journal publication: Enabling relational leadership in primary healthcare settings: lessons from the DIALHS collaboration
  • News: Health Policy and Planning launch a new supplement on strengthening health system leadership for better governance
  • Blog: Strengthening health system leadership for better governance: what does it take?
  • Podcast: Health system leadership - African experience
  • Editorial: Strengthening health system leadership for better governance: what does it take?
Policy brief | Governance