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Health Systems

Health Systems

Effective health systems are complex, multifaceted and absolutely essential for high quality health care for any given population. A number of different factors feed into a good health system, all of which much operate in coordination and

 cooperation with one another for the system to function at its best.

The World Health Organization identifies six building blocks of a functioning health system:

  1. Effective and safe health interventions to those that need them, when and where needed, with minimum waste of resources.
  2. Services that are responsive, fair and efficient to achieve the best health outcomes possible, given available resources and circumstances.
  3. Information systems that ensures the production, analysis, dissemination and use of reliable and timely information on health determinants, health system performance and health status.
  4. Equitable access to essential medical products, vaccines and technologies of assured quality, safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness, and their scientifically sound and cost-effective use.
  5. A good health financing system raises adequate funds for health, in ways that ensure people can use needed services, and are protected from financial catastrophe or impoverishment associated with having to pay for them. It provides incentives for providers and users to be efficient.
  6. Leadership and governance involves ensuring strategic policy frameworks exist and are combined with effective oversight, coalition building, regulation, attention to system-design and accountability.
    ("Everybody's business. Strengthening health systems to improve health outcomes : WHO's framework for action". WHO. 2007.)


Explore some of the links in this section to find out more about specific initiatives to improve primary healthcare systems.