Health systems strengthening
Health systems strengthening (also health system strengthening, abbreviated HSS) is a term used in global health that roughly means to improve the health care system of a country. Within this general definition, it can mean increasing funding for health infrastructure, improving health policy, trying to achieve universal healthcare, or any number of other health measures.
Organizations that use health systems strengthening
Various health organizations have claimed to use health systems strengthening (while not necessarily agreeing on the definition). Some of these are:
- World Health Organization
- US Agency for International Development (USAID, uses different definition from the one in a 2006 Global Fund-commissioned WHO report); USAID states that HSS has been "at the core of [its] mission in health for the last 20 years", and defines HSS as "initiating activities in the six internationally accepted core HSS functions – human resources for health; health finance; health governance; health information; medical products, vaccines, and technologies; and service delivery".
- GAVI Alliance
- The Global Fund
- PEPFAR (though less developed)
- Stop TB Partnership (uses different definition from the one in a 2006 Global Fund-commissioned WHO report)
- Roll Back Malaria (uses different definition from the one in a 2006 Global Fund-commissioned WHO report)
Both the idea of health systems strengthening and the term itself have received attention.
Even advocates of health systems strengthening admit that it can often seem like a "distant, even abstract aim".
Marchal et al., writing in 2009, called the term "vague" and argued that "most current HSS strategies are selective (i.e., they target a specific disease), and their effects may undermine progress towards the long-term goal of effective, high-quality, and inclusive health systems."
- "Health Systems Strengthening Glossary". World Health Organization. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Glassman, Amanda. "Conversation with Amanda Glassman on August 27, 2013" (PDF). GiveWell. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- "New Perspectives in Health Systems Strengthening" (PDF). USAID.
- "Systems Thinking for Health Systems Strengthening" (PDF). World Health Organization. 2009.
- Marchal B, Cavalli A, Kegels G (April 28, 2009). "Global Health Actors Claim To Support Health System Strengthening—Is This Reality or Rhetoric?". PLOS Medicine.
- "USAID's Vision for Health Systems Strengthening" (PDF). USAID. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Karen Grepin (April 29, 2009). "Are health system strengthening efforts just hype?". Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- Peter Berman (June 2009). "Unpacking Health System Strengthening" (PDF). World Bank. Retrieved June 14, 2016.