The World Health Organization (WHO) has outlined five building blocks of a successful health system. service delivery, health workforce, health information systems, access to essential medicines and vaccines, and financing. In this blog post, we will discuss each of these building blocks in detail and provide insight into how they interact to create a successful health system. We will also explain how these building blocks can be applied in a variety of countries and contexts.
Universal health coverage
Universal health coverage (UHC) is a goal set out by the World Health Organization (WHO). That seeks to ensure that all people can access essential quality health services without facing financial hardship. UHC involves providing affordable access to medical care, including preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services, as well as emergency services.
The implementation of UHC is intended to lead to improved health outcomes across populations, by reducing inequities in access to health care and enabling all people to receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. UHC is based on the principles of equity, solidarity, accessibility, quality, and affordability.
To achieve UHC, there must be an effective and efficient health system in place. This includes a well-functioning health workforce, quality service delivery, essential medicines and vaccines, and reliable health information.
Having an adequate health workforce is a key component in building a strong health system. This means having enough skilled, qualified, and motivated health workers to provide quality healthcare services. WHO defines the health workforce as all people engaged in actions whose primary intent is to enhance health. It includes medical, paramedical, and non-medical personnel such as doctors, nurses, midwives, pharmacists, dentists, allied health professionals, and traditional healers. But also includes those working in public health, health management, administration, and finance.
In addition to being sufficient in number and competent, the health workforce must be supported by good working conditions, such as living wages and safe and supportive workplaces. Health workers must also be respected members of their communities and committed to providing compassionate care.
Finally, the health workforce must be able to work in a network of other health providers, both within their own countries and across borders, to better understand the health needs of the population they serve. With an effective and well-trained health workforce, strong healthcare systems can be built that meet the needs of their populations.
Service delivery is an integral part of any health system and is essential for providing quality health care to everyone. It includes the delivery of services such as primary care, hospital care, mental health services, and other specialized care. Effective service delivery is essential to ensure that health services are accessible, available, and of good quality.
Service delivery must be organized in a way that meets the needs of the population it serves. This includes understanding the population’s needs, utilizing the appropriate technologies and resources, and training staff appropriately.
In addition to providing quality care, service delivery should also be responsive to the changing health needs of a population. To do this, there must be an effective monitoring and evaluation system in place. This system should include regular assessments of health service performance, patient satisfaction surveys, and measures of equity of access.
This includes making sure that those who need health services can access them without financial hardship, through financing mechanisms such as insurance and subsidies.
By effectively organizing and delivering services, we can ensure that all people can access the quality health care they need.
Essential medicines and vaccines
The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes essential medicines and vaccines as integral components of a well-functioning health system. Essential medicines are those that satisfy the priority healthcare needs of the population and are selected with due regard to public health relevance, evidence on efficacy and safety, and comparative cost-effectiveness.
To ensure that all people have access to necessary medicines, the WHO has developed a list of essential medicines for adults and children and recommends that countries develop their own national essential medicine lists.
Vaccines are also a crucial part of health system building blocks. Immunization is one of the most cost-effective public health interventions available and the WHO recommends that all countries provide routine vaccination against 11 diseases including diphtheria, measles, pertussis, and tetanus. Countries should strive to achieve and maintain high immunization coverage levels, with an emphasis on reaching vulnerable populations. The WHO works with countries to strengthen their immunization systems, improve data collection and monitoring, and introduce new vaccines as appropriate.
The availability of essential medicines and vaccines is key to ensuring equitable access to health care. Governments should strive to make these items available to all while ensuring quality control and affordability.
Health information systems are essential to inform decision-making, promote quality assurance, measure outcomes and improve efficiency. Good health information systems require data collection, information storage and retrieval, analysis, feedback, and exchange.
Data collection is the process of collecting information from multiple sources such as patient records, administrative data, surveys, and research activities.
Information storage and retrieval involves organizing and storing data so it can be retrieved and analyzed when needed. This includes organizing data into tables, documents, images, videos, and other formats.
The analysis is the process of interpreting data and turning it into useful information. This includes comparing results, looking for trends, making predictions, and drawing conclusions.
Feedback is an essential part of a health information system. It enables healthcare providers to give feedback to patients on their progress, and it also allows administrators to provide feedback to clinicians on their performance.
Exchange refers to sharing data and information between different healthcare providers, hospitals, and healthcare systems. This allows for better coordination of care and improved communication between medical teams.
In conclusion, health information is an important component of any health system and should be managed effectively to ensure quality care.