The WHO global strategy on people-centred and integrated health services represents a call for a fundamental shift in the way health services are funded, managed and delivered. This is urgently needed to meet the challenges being faced nowadays by health systems around the world. The fact that people are living longer, along with the burden of treating long-term chronic conditions and preventable illnesses which often require multiple complex interventions, means that pressure on health systems continues to grow. Moreover, universal health coverage will not be achieved without improvements in the delivery of health services. Unless a people-centred and integrated health services approach is adopted, health care will become increasingly fragmented, inefficient and unsustainable.
Putting people at the heart of the health-care experience and focusing on a true and lasting integration of services offered to them is urgently needed to meet the challenges faced by today’s health systems, however diverse. The strategy presents a compelling vision of a future in which all people have access to health services that are provided in a way that responds to their preferences, are coordinated around their needs and are safe, effective, timely, efficient and of an acceptable quality. A new mother in Dubrovnik, a cancer sufferer in Delhi, a mental health patient in Dubai and an accident victim in Dakar will each have the promise of better, more customized and timely care.