Health systems

AK Puri

A health system consists of all organizations, people and actions whose primary intent is to promote, restore or maintain health. The overall health systems goal is to improve population health outcomes in an equitable way without overburdening people with healthcare costs. Health systems globally, and in India are highly context-specific with huge intra and inter-state variations. Common characteristics of a well-functioning health system are: they are responsive, financially fair and efficient in use of available resources.

The health system broadly entails six building blocks: a sustainable financing mechanism, which averts impoverishment of people due to healthcare costs; sufficient health workforce having right skills and motivation; a reliable health information system for policy and programmatic decision making; well-maintained facilities with adequate medicines and appropriate technologies; robust mechanisms to deliver quality health services, and a robust stewardship to lead and steer the health systems.