Making health systems more equitable

Lancet. 2004 Oct;364(9441):1273-80. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(04)17145-6.


Health systems are consistently inequitable, providing more and higher quality services to the well-off, who need them less, than to the poor, who are unable to obtain them. In the absence of a concerted effort to ensure that health systems reach disadvantaged groups more effectively, such inequities are likely to continue. Yet this situation need not be accepted as inevitable, for there are many promising measures that might be pursued: establishment of goals for improved coverage in the poor, rather than in entire populations, and use of those goals to direct planning toward the needs of the disadvantaged; use of one or more of the several techniques that seem to have been effective in at least some of the settings where they have been tried; and empowerment of poor clients to have a more central role in health system design and operation.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Developing Countries*
  • Goals
  • Health Expenditures
  • Health Policy
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Services Accessibility*
  • Humans
  • International Agencies
  • Maternal-Child Health Centers
  • Poverty*
  • Social Justice
  • Socioeconomic Factors