"Health systems strengthening gained attention when the World Health Organization published its 2000 report, Health Systems: Improving Performance. The international public health community realized that disease-specific interventions—such as those for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria—need to do more to address problems within the frail health systems in which they are executed. Improvements need to be broadened beyond disease-focused, time-limited service delivery contracts to become lasting changes in how health systems operate.
In its 2007 Everybody's Business: Strengthening Health Systems to Improve Health Outcomes, WHO defined a health system as "organizations, people, and actions whose primary intent is to promote, restore, or maintain health." They put forth six health system building blocks, that is, six basic functions a health system must carry out effectively if it is to achieve its goals:
Health services must be efficient, effective, and accessible.
A number of well-trained staff should be available.
Health information systems should generate useful data on health determinants and health system performance.
Access to medicines, vaccines, and medical technologiesmust be equitable.
Health financing systems must raise adequate funds for health, ensuring that people can access affordable services.
Leadership must ensure effective oversight, regulation, and accountability."