Country ownership involves shared responsibility and mutual accountability with donors and other partners, particularly when outside financial and technical resources are needed to fully respond to the health sector needs of host countries. The U.S. Government fosters country ownership by investing in country-led priorities, plans, and systems.
Country ownership is defined by the continuum of actions taken by political and institutional stakeholders in partner countries to plan, oversee, manage, deliver, and finance their health sector and achieve health goals. These actions advance sustainable, quality health programs that are locally owned and responsive to the needs of host country nationals.
Transition toward country ownership is a purposeful shift from a U.S.-led and -funded program to an integrated and country-led program. The transition process is intended to facilitate a smooth transfer of the program’s management, implementation, and “ownership” to the intended host country recipient. The ultimate intention of a transition is a changed relationship, one of a mutually beneficial technical partnership between the United States and the partner country.
As more information becomes available and our collective knowledge expands, it will become increasingly important for the U.S. Government to develop and sustain a knowledge management function that ensures broad dissemination of new learning, as well as opportunities for practitioners and researchers to gather occasionally to discuss the practical implications of this learning for policies and programs in the field.
The process of advancing country ownership requires strengthening the capabilities and changing the dynamics between the U.S. Government and in-country partners, with increasing host country and institutional leadership for the health response. In-country partners include government entities at the national and subnational levels, academia, civil society, the private sector, and other key stakeholders with country presence. Government plays a central role in country ownership. It is the architect of – and provides oversight and coordination for – the entire health sector.