IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Civil society organisations and global health initiatives: Problems of legitimacy


  • Doyle, Cathal
  • Patel, Preeti


Civil society organisations (CSOs) have a prominent role in global health initiatives such as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (the Global Fund) and, in the United States, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). They are increasingly consulted by international organisations and, in some cases like the Global Fund, are involved in decision-making. They are also increasingly seen as crucial agents in delivering health interventions on the ground. Some donors prefer to channel funds through CSOs in developing countries than through perceived to be corrupt or inefficient government agencies. This paper examines this growing role and the arguments put forward to justify their increasing influence, particularly in HIV/AIDS initiatives. It analyses the main challenges to CSOs' legitimacy and outlines key responses to these challenges. It concludes by suggesting a number of research priorities that might help to evaluate the impact of CSOs in global health initiatives.

Suggested Citation

  • Doyle, Cathal & Patel, Preeti, 2008. "Civil society organisations and global health initiatives: Problems of legitimacy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 66(9), pages 1928-1938, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:9:p:1928-1938

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Pfeiffer, James, 2003. "International NGOs and primary health care in Mozambique: the need for a new model of collaboration," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 725-738, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Olafsdottir, Sigrun & Bakhtiari, Elyas & Barman, Emily, 2014. "Public or private? The role of the state and civil society in health and health inequalities across nations," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 174-181.
    2. London, Leslie & Schneider, Helen, 2012. "Globalisation and health inequalities: Can a human rights paradigm create space for civil society action?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 6-13.
    3. Borzaga, Carlo & Fazzi, Luca, 2014. "Civil society, third sector, and healthcare: The case of social cooperatives in Italy," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 234-241.
    4. Spicer, Neil & Harmer, Andrew & Aleshkina, Julia & Bogdan, Daryna & Chkhatarashvili, Ketevan & Murzalieva, Gulgun & Rukhadze, Natia & Samiev, Arnol & Walt, Gill, 2011. "Circus monkeys or change agents? Civil society advocacy for HIV/AIDS in adverse policy environments," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 73(12), pages 1748-1755.
    5. Dickson-Gomez, Julia & Corbett, A. Michelle & Bodnar, Gloria & Rodriguez, Karla & Guevara, Carmen E., 2010. "Resources and obstacles to developing and implementing a structural intervention to prevent HIV in San Salvador, El Salvador," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 351-359, February.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:66:y:2008:i:9:p:1928-1938. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.