Issues, challenges, action
A health system has a responsibility to provide services that are universally accessible, effective at improving health and address health inequities. Universal access to quality health services for all cannot be achieved without the development of a robust health system. A good health system is responsive to people's needs, financially fair, and uses resources efficiently.
Health systems are inherently complex. A health system needs staff, funds, information, supplies, transport, communications and overall guidance and direction. Work in one area without regard to other parts of the system may not improve total system performance. Even if only one aspect is tackled, an awareness of the needs of the whole of system is necessary—this means a whole system approach.
Across the region there remain large gaps in coverage of crucial aspects of health services, health services that are of low quality so that even when available they do not contribute optimally to improved health outcomes, and inequities in health outcomes.
- Continuing health as high government priority and ensuring good leadership and management to focus on universal care and equity;
- Investing sufficient funding for health at all system levels; and
- Training and distributing the right number and mix of staff to health services close to the people.