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Summary measures of population health in the context of the WHO framework for health system performance assessment.
In: Summary measures of population health: concepts, ethics, measurement and applications, edited by C.J.L. Murray, J.A. Salomon, C.D. Mathers and A.D. Lopez. Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization [WHO], 2002. 1-11.This volume addresses the conceptual, ethical, empirical and technical challenges in summarizing the health of populations. This is critical for monitoring whether levels of population health are improving over time and for understanding why health differs across settings. At the same time, it is also important to recognize that improving population health is not the only goal of health policy and to understand the way health improvements interact with these other goals. For that reason, we briefly review the World Health Organization (WHO) framework for assessing the performance of health systems and the role of summary measures of population health (SMPH) in this framework. Following the recent peer review of the methodology used for health system performance by WHO (Anand et al. 2002), this framework will continue to evolve in response to the detailed recommendations of the scientific peer review group and to ongoing scientific debates and research. (excerpt)