Strengthening Health Systems to Provide Emergency Care

Authors: Teri Reynolds, Hendry Sawe, Andres Rubiano, Sang Do Shin, Lee Wallis, Charles Mock


Emergency care systems (ECSs) address a wide range of acute conditions, including injuries, communicable and noncommunicable diseases, and complications of pregnancy, and that especially when barriers to health care access exist, people may seek care only when acutely ill or injured, making emergency care an essential component of universal health coverage—and for many people around the world, the primary point of access to the health system. The interventions needed to address these conditions prove cost-effective, even in limited-resource settings, but critical gaps remain in emergency care governance and delivery in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Improving the organization of and planning for emergency care services substantially improves the outcomes of patients with emergency conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) ECS framework and the complementary essential package of emergency care services represent a mechanism by which emergency care can be scaled up globally, accelerating progress toward universal health coverage and a range of other Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets.