Health services development

The WHO Health Systems Framework


A health system consists of all organizations, people and actions whose primary interest is to promote, restore or maintain health. This can be analysed in its totality by using different groups or blocks. The six building blocks are enumerated below.

  • Good health services are those which deliver effective, safe, quality personal and non-personal health interventions to those who need them, when and where needed, with minimum waste of resources.
  • A well-performing health workforce is one which works in ways that are responsive, fair and efficient to achieve the best health outcomes possible, given available resources and circumstances. I.e. There are sufficient numbers and mix of staff, fairly distributed; they are competent, responsive and productive.
  • A well-functioning health information system is one that ensures the production, analysis, dissemination and use of reliable and timely information on health determinants, health systems performance and health status.
  • A well-functioning health system ensures 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.
  • 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.
  • Leadership and governance involves ensuring strategic policy frameworks exist and are combined with effective oversight, coalition-building, the provision of appropriate regulations and incentives, attention to system-design, and accountability.
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