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Thinking Systematically

What vital information may we be losing in the frameworks, such as the ‘control knobs’ and ‘building blocks’? Professor McPake explains in this video.

While health systems frameworks such as the ‘control knobs’ and ‘building blocks’ may be a useful starting point to understanding the core elements and functions of health systems, a more complex understanding of what constitutes a health system, and how actors and processes in the system interact, is vital when developing health systems strengthening approaches.

As you watch the animation in the next step, the first in a series throughout this course which explores complexity within health systems, think about the value of simplification and ‘rules of thumb’ when working on complex issues, but also the risk of failing to see the true complexity of a system and account for it.


Why do we (as individuals, and organisations) tend to favour simple (even simplistic) explanations for how things work, and how they can be changed? Think about this for a moment before moving on to the next step.

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Health Systems Strengthening

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