We believe that systems thinking and complexity science can be transformational in global health by increasing local capacity and shared learning, and minimizing unintended consequences.
“Toward a Consensus on Guiding Principles for Health Systems Strengthening” was published in PLoS Medicine. It is open access, available to all. I have reproduced a summary list of the principles below. In the coming weeks, I will be posting on next steps: advocacy, application, education, research, etc.
Ten Health Systems Strengthening Guiding Principles
* Consider all systems components, processes, and relationships simultaneously.
* Include all health systems strengthening principles listed below.
* Consider global, national, regional, and local culture and politics.
3. SOCIAL MOBILIZATION
* Mobilize and advocate for social and political change to strengthen health systems and address the social determinants of health.
* Develop long-term, equal, and respectful partnerships between donors and recipients within the health sector and among other sectors.
* Develop and commit to a shared vision among partners by challenging underlying beliefs and assumptions.
* Ensure frequent communication among actors.
5. CAPACITY ENHANCEMENT
* Enhance capacity and ownership at all levels, from individuals and households to ministries of health, including leadership, management, institutional strengthening, and problem solving.
* Train and supervise the most appropriate personnel to meet health needs.
* Utilize appropriate technology.
* Coordinate external aid and activities.
* Minimize waste.
* Allocate funds where they are needed most.
7. EVIDENCE-INFORMED ACTION
* Strengthen structure, systems, and processes to gather, analyze, and apply data locally.
* Make decisions, whenever possible, based on evidence.
* Monitor progress of programs, and adjust accordingly.
* Ensure transparency and accountability.
* Target those who are disenfranchised.
* Plan for equity by empowering the disenfranchised, with a particular emphasis on gender.
* Disaggregate indicators to track disenfranchised groups.
9. FINANCIAL PROTECTION
* Ensure that funding streams are predictable.
* Consider insurance schemes to protect from financial catastrophes.
* Respond to needs and concerns of all stakeholders.
* Demonstrate accountability to constituents.
* Implement and respond to feedback mechanisms measuring quality and provider/client relationships.