What is a ‘health system’?
This volume considers the health sector to be made up of the set of actors and activities that are primarily aimed at improving/preserving health status, at an individual or a population level. In contrast, the health system encompasses a broader range of activities that influence health. The central message is that a clearer understanding of these broader influences, together with the complex set of interactions and linkages among them, are critical for improving population health in a world in which both sectoral and international boundaries have become increasingly permeable. This chapter elaborates upon, and justifies, the deliberately broader approach that is taken in this volume. It begins by providing a brief history of the development of ‘health system’ thinking to provide the context.
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