An integrated approach to building health systems resilience

Public health emergencies and other forms of health systems shocks continue to underscore the need for more resilient health systems as a requirement for universal health coverage and health security, and promoting a healthier population. A major challenge in building health systems resilience is the prevailing fragmentation in health systems strengthening and public health efforts. Addressing the challenge requires decision makers and managers for individual and population health services to have the knowledge and skills to identify and apply an integrated approach to making health systems and services resilient to public health threats. This course explores key requirements for enabling health system resilience with an integrated systems approach.

Photo credits: WHO / L. Mackenzie

Language: English

Course information

Overview: Health systems continuously face various forms of public health challenges ranging from acute shocks (such as infectious disease outbreaks. and environmental, climate-related and/or man-made disasters) to more chronic stressors (such as the burden of non-communicable diseases, antimicrobial resistance, or protracted humanitarian crises). In these contexts, health systems struggle to maintain their essential individual and population-based health services and recover from the impacts of the shock events. This predisposes to additional deterioration in health and socioeconomic outcomes with setbacks in achieving universal health coverage (UHC) and health security goals. WHO recommends a renewed and increased focus on building resilience by addressing the critical gaps that make health systems vulnerable to public health threats. A combination of integrated approaches and actions are required to demonstrate health systems resilience attributes across policymaking, planning, service delivery, and monitoring and evaluation efforts. These include applying systems thinking and essential public health functions approaches, with improvements in quality of care and all hazards emergency risk management. The target audiences for this course are decision makers of public health policy, and managers of health services at national, subnational and community levels.

Course duration: This course will take approximately 5 hours to complete.

Certificates: A Record of Achievement certificate will be available to participants who score at least 80% of the total points available across all of the quizzes. A Confirmation of Participation certificate is also available for participants who complete at least 80% of the course material. Participants who receive a Record of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.

What you'll learn

  • Incorporate the attributes of a resilient health system into relevant policies, plans, and actions
  • Apply an integrated approach to building health systems resilience as a requirement for UHC and health security
  • Advocate for and foster the implementation of the key requirements for building health systems resilience against various risks and shocks.

Course contents

  • Module 1: Introduction to health systems resilience:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: define health systems resilience; explain the importance of health systems strengthening for resilience; identify the linkages between important global public health approaches and initiatives and health systems resilience; explain the importance of the essential public health functions (EPHFs) approach for health systems resilience; identify attributes and key actions that are required for health systems resilience; and identify health systems resilience stakeholders and their roles.
  • Module 2: Building health system resilience before shock events:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: explain the importance of governance and intersectoral coordination in ensuring an integrated approach to resilience; discuss the relationship between management of health systems shocks and stressors and health systems resilience; describe, with examples, the interlinkages between quality of care and resilience; discuss the role of health services in early detection of health systems shocks and stressors; identify key elements of health services continuity planning for resilience to shock events; highlight the value of simulation exercises for health systems resilience; identify health services resilience indicators from a systems perspective; and identify minimum requirements for health services resilience using a systems and integrated approach.
  • Module 3: Health systems resilience during shock events:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: explain the importance of the essential package of health services; identify priority actions for maintaining essential health services during health systems shocks; discuss the importance of integrating health systems resilience in incident management systems; highlight health services and systems role during shocks, stressors and/or public health emergency (PHE) response; and identify modalities for monitoring impact of shock events on routine health services and resilience of health services.
  • Module 4: Health systems recovery and building resilience:

    By the end of this module, you should be able to: outline steps for health system recovery applying an integrated approach; explain how post-event evaluations can contribute to building health system resilience; identify key considerations required for recovery planning to improve health system resilience; and identify options for sharing and applying knowledge and lessons learnt from health systems shocks and stressors.

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Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain a Confirmation of Participation by completing at least 80% of the course material.