More Information on Health Systems
What is a health system based on the values of primary health care?
The Constitution of WHO states that "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being…". Certain core values underpin efficient and effective health care systems. These values have been articulated in the Alma-Ata Resolution on Primary Health Care since 1978 and include equity, social justice, universality, people-centredness, community protection, scientific soundness, self-determination, and self-reliance. Health systems that are built on the principles of Primary Health Care (PHC) have tended to achieve better health and better value for the money invested in health.
A health system consists of all organizations, people and actions whose primary intent is to promote, restore or maintain health . This includes efforts to influence determinants of health as well as more direct health-improving activities. A health system is therefore more than the pyramid of publicly owned facilities that deliver personal health services. It includes, for example, a mother caring for a sick child at home; private providers; behaviour change programmes; vector-control campaigns; health insurance organizations; occupational health and safety legislation. It includes inter-sectoral action by health staff, for example, encouraging the ministry of education to promote female education, a well known determinant of better health.