Health systems

Health Systems Strengthening Glossary



Impact: (i) the total, direct and indirect, effects of a programme, service or institution on a health status and overall health and socio-economic development. 1 (ii) positive or negative, long-term or medium-term effects produced by a programme or intervention. (iii) the degree of achievement of an ultimate health objective. 2

Indirect cost: total sum of morbidity costs (goods and services not produced by the patient because of the illness), mortality costs (goods and services the person could have produced had the illness not been incurred and the person not died prematurely), and productivity cost (related to lost productivity incurred by an employee who leaves work to provide care for the patient).3

Input: a quantified amount of a resource put in a process. 4

Integrated Health Services Delivery Network: a network of organizations that provides, or makes arrangements to provide, equitable, comprehensive and integrated health services to a defined population and is willing to be held accountable for its clinical and economic outcomes and for the health status of the population that it serves. 5

Intervention: an activity or set of activities aimed at modifying a process, course of action or sequence of events, in order to change one or several of their characteristics such as performance or expected outcome. 6




Licensure: "licensure is a process by which a governmental authority grants permission to an individual practitioner or health care organization to operate or to engage in an occupation or profession. Licensure regulations are generally established to ensure that an organization or individual meets minimum standards to protect public health and safety. Licensure to individuals is usually granted after some form of examination or proof of education and maybe renewed periodically through payment of a fee and/or proof of continuing education or professional competence. Organizational licensure is granted following an on-site inspection to determine if minimum health and safety standards have been met. "7

Life course approach: an approach suggesting that the health outcomes of individuals and the community depend on the interaction of multiple protective and risk factors throughout people’s lives. This approach provides a more comprehensive vision of health and its determinants, which calls for the development of health services more centred on the needs of its users in each stage of their lives. 8

Logframe (logical Framework Analysis, LFA): a formalized approach to planning, programming and evaluation, adopted by many agencies as aid management tool. Logframes define the project’s objectives and indicators for monitoring and evaluation. 9


  • WHO Terminology Information System [online glossary]
  • Health Systems Observatory. Glossary for Health System. World Health Organization, Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office.
  • Vaknin S. Healthcare reform checklist. First edition. Skopje, Narcissus Publications, 2010.
  • WHO Terminology Information System [online glossary]
  • Modified from Shortell SM; Anderson DA; Gillies RR; Mitchell JB; Morgan KL. Building integrated systems: the holographic organization. Healthcare Forum Journal 1993; 36(2):20-6.
  • WHO Terminology Information System [online glossary]
  • Rooney AL, van Ostenberg PR. Licensure, accreditation, and certification: approaches to health services quality. Bethesda, MD. USAID, 1999. Available at:
  • Modified from Lu M, Halfon N. Racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes: a life-course perspective. Maternal and Child Health Journal 2003; 7(1):13-30.
  • JJones S, Williams G. A common language for managing official development assistance: a glossary of ODA terms. London, Oxford Policy Management, 2002.