Putting people front and center: Participatory health in the 21st century

Dr. Agnès Soucat, director of health systems governance and financing at the World Health Organization, tells Devex why health systems need to be set up with citizens’ needs front and center.

Strategizing national health in the 21st century: a handbook provides an up-to-date and practical guidance on national health planning and strategizing for health. In this handbook, WHO accumulates its wealth of experience in countries on national health policies, strategies, and plans to establish a set of best practices to support strategic plans for health. The focus on improving plans has grown in recent years, in recognition of the benefits of anchoring a strong national health sector in a written vision based on participation, analysis, and evidence.

NEW YORK — Health systems in the 21st century have been impacted by technological developments, changing needs, an increase in public awareness, and a rise in epidemics.

Taken together, this requires a lot of capacity at the national level, according to Dr. Agnès Soucat, director of health systems governance and financing at the World Health Organization. “Ministries and departments of health in the 21st century need to be equipped to handle a lot of decisions.”

As a response, WHO has launched Strategizing national health in the 21st century: a handbook on how to manage these complex issues. It provides practical guidance for countries on a range of areas, including establishing participatory processes, setting up citizen platforms, and developing decision-making processes.

And the key to success? “Building the voice of the people and the participatory process for collective decisions,” said Soucat.

How do we ensure that people worldwide get the care they need without the risk of being pushed further into poverty? Devex explores the path to universal health coverage. Join us as we ask what it will take to achieve UHC for all by visiting our Healthy Horizons site and tagging #HealthyHorizons, #Health4All and @Devex.

The content, information, opinions, and viewpoints in this Healthy Horizons content series are those of the authors or contributors of such materials. Content produced as part of the series does not represent an endorsement of the contributing institutions or their positions, nor does it imply the existence of any relationship or engagement among them in connection with this series.

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