Health systems constitute a set of structured relations between institutions and populations. Generally, only the institutional or supply side of health systems is analysed. However, the population is not an external beneficiary of the system: it is an essential part of it.
A health system is defined for the purposes of this report as consisting of four core elements: personal health care services, public or population health services, health research systems, and health in all policies. Effective health systems strengthening requires attention to all four of these elements.