The 7 Essential Components of a National Health System:

Medical care institutions are the typical target of health system reform. While these institutions can and do improve the quality of life of sick individuals, they do little to prevent or resolve major chronic problems like cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Research from public health shows that efforts focused on behavioral change or lifestyle interventions are also inefficient. In order to make significant improvements in the health of populations we need to expand our strategies to address the political, economic, social, and cultural determinants of health. Dr. Vincent Navarro, a professor at John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health,  identifies seven essential components of a national health system. He emphasizes that the empowerment of people should be at the root of each of these:

  1. Public policy to encourage participation and influence in society
  2. Economic and social determinants
  3. Cultural determinants
  4. Working life interventions
  5. Environmental and consumer protection interventions
  6. Secure and favorable conditions during childhood, adolescence and retirement
  7. Health care interventions that promote health

Source: Navarro, V. (2009) What we mean by social determinants of health, International Journal of Health Services, (39), 3, p423-441

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