Strengthening health systems
What’s needed to strengthen a health system?There is a good understanding of what is required to strengthen health systems. The World Health Organisation (WHO) summarises the five key elements required2: leadership, information systems, health workforce, financing, supplies and service delivery. Planning for the strengthening of health systems is already underway. There is a focus on ensuring coordination across the different countries, reflecting how disease threats, like Ebola, are a threat to the entire region.Strengthening a health system requires many things, including health workers, surveillance and supplies. A strong economy is also necessary for the system to be properly funded. Global institutions, such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and key international donors, were central to policies that led to weak economies in West Africa and elsewhere3. Recognising the role of global health architecture in creating vulnerability to Ebola means we must ensure that actions within countries to strengthen health systems and economies are linked with global reforms. Key institutions, such as the WHO, World Bank, and IMF, can then play a supporting role in these processes.
Ebola in Context: Understanding Transmission, Response and Control
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