Health systems strengthening needs 10 guiding principles

December 21, 2010

Despite the growing recognition of the importance of strengthening health systems around the world, there is a considerable lack of shared definitions and guiding principles that are threatening the ability to form strategic policy, practice and evaluations. In this week's PLoS Medicine, Robert Chad Swanson from Brigham Young University, USA and colleagues present a set of 10 guiding principles for health systems strengthening to address this problem, developed from a comprehensive review of the literature and consultation with experts.

"We invite global health leaders and planners to scrutinize and counter these principles," say the authors, "and we hope that such a discussion will establish a common set of principles that will serve as the foundation for future health systems strengthening discussions and strategies.
Funding: The authors received no specific funding for this article. RL is supported through the Government of Canada "Canada Research Chair" program.

Competing Interests: RCS received US$1000 from the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for partially funding one of the attended conferences. He also shared a room for one night while attending a different conference with a colleague that was paid for by the NGO Food for the Hungry.

Citation: Swanson RC, Bongiovanni A, Bradley E, Murugan V, Sundewall J, et al. (2010) Toward a Consensus on Guiding Principles for Health Systems Strengthening. PLoS Med 7(12): e1000385. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000385





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