Health systems

Health Systems Strengthening Glossary


Balance (within a national health policy/strategy/plan): the extent to which the level of detail of the different components of the NHPSP and the weight given to different priorities provides due and proportional attention to the different priorities identified by the country.

Benchmark: (i) a measurement or point of reference at the beginning of an activity which is used for comparison with subsequent measurements of the same variable; (ii) unacceptable standard in evaluation." 1

Breadth of Integration: Number of different functions and services provided along the continuum of care. 2

Budget Support: (i) direct budget support is defined as a method of financing a partner country's budget through a transfer of resources from an external financing agency to the partner government's national treasury. The funds thus transferred are managed in accordance with the recipient's budgetary procedures. Funds transferred to the national treasury for financing programmes or projects managed according to different budgetary procedures from those of the partner country, with the intention of earmarking the resources for specific uses, are not part of direct budget support. (ii) General budget support: a subcategory of direct budget support focusing on overall policy and budget priorities. (iii) Sector budget support: a subcategory of direct budget support co-funding the national budget of a particular sector. The support is thus nominally earmarked, for the sector and used according to the national public expenditure management rules and procedures. 34

Budgeting: the process of elaborating a detailed plan for the future showing how resources will be acquired and used during a specific time period, expressed in formal, measurable terms. 5

Burden of disease:a measurement of the gap between current health status and an ideal situation where everyone lives into old age, free of disease and disability. 6 See Global Burden of Disease.


  • Last JM. A dictionary of public health. Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Shortell SM; Anderson DA; Gillies RR; Mitchell JB; Morgan KL. Building integrated systems: the holographic organization. Healthcare Forum Journal 1993; 36(2):20-6.
  • Aid Management Guidelines [online glossary] Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.
  • Harmonizing donor practices for effective aid delivery. Volume 2: Budget support, sector-wide approaches, and capacity development in public financial management. Paris, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, 2006.
  • Glossary on health economic terms (work in progress) - EMRO May 2010
  • The global burden of disease: 2004 update (2008). Available at: