chapter  10
8 Pages

The politics of health systems strengthening

WithKaterini T. Storeng, Ruth J. Prince, Arima Mishra

This chapter presents health systems and how to strengthen them thus cut to the core of the politics of global health. The Ebola epidemic has hardened political consensus that strengthening health systems is essential for future epidemic preparedness. Progressive rationales for health systems strengthening that focus on ensuring health equity co-exist with a discourse of global health security that conceives of health systems strengthening in instrumental terms. Nationalist, anti-imperialist, and mission movements in many recently decolonised nations played key roles in developing and diffusing core concepts like ‘health for all’, which became central in the World Health Organization’s work in the 1970s. Progressive rationales for health systems strengthening that focus on ensuring health equity co-exist with a discourse of global health security that conceives of health systems strengthening in instrumental terms. Historically, national forces relating to class, economic interests and political power have shaped both progressive and regressive approaches to public health.