Editorials

WHO's World Health Report 2003

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7430.6 (Published 01 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:6
  1. Gill Walt, professor of international health policy
  1. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT

    Shaping the future depends on strengthening health systems

    The overall message of this year's World Health Report, “Shaping the future,” from the World Health Organization is clear. Strengthen health systems, otherwise there will be no progress in meeting a vast and growing array of health inequalities. Furthermore, the report says firmly that strengthened health systems must be based on primary health care. “Shaping the future” is actually about going back to basics.

    Justice is seen as both a moral imperative and an aspect of wise security. The message of the new director general, Dr Lee Jong-wook contrasts the injustice of parts of the world where there are expectations of longer and more comfortable lives, with other parts where there is despair over the failure to control disease, even though the means to do so exist. A child in Japan can not only expect to get reasonable access to health care throughout her life, but also to receive medicines worth, on average, $550 (£312; €443) per year (and more if necessary). …

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