Medicines in Health Systems: Advancing Access, Affordability and Appropriate Use. Chapter 1 - Annex 1: Examples of Complexity Approaches to Access to Medicines in the Existing Literature
(2014; 16 pages)


Access to essential medicines has been an important subset of health literature; however, there is a dearth of evidence when it comes to analysing access using a health systems perspective. The evidence generally falls short of delving into health systems components contributing to priority policy areas impeding safe and affordable access to quality medicines. There is a growing recognition that many aspects of health care are connected to each other, and that without consideration of these interrelated parts and how they affect one another, policies cannot act effectively in improving health outcomes because they will be unable to face barriers imposed across levels of the health system. There is a need to take a systems perspective to better understand how to intervene and the effects of intervening in the area of access to medicines.

With growing focus on universal health coverage, there is an opportunity to better link medicines and broader aspects of health system financing and service delivery. Sustainable, equitable and effective approaches cannot be designed or evaluated without consideration of other aspects of the health system, including how dynamic and complex ways in which they are connected. Understanding the health system as a complex adaptive system is critical for advancing the agenda of enhancing access to medicines.

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