The Tallinn Charter: Health Systems for Health and Wealth
At the Conference, WHO, Member States and a range of international partners adopted the Tallinn Charter: Health Systems for Health and Wealth. The Charter provides guidance and a strategic framework for strengthening health systems in the WHO European Region. It was endorsed by all European Member States at the WHO Regional Committee for Europe's session in Tbilisi in September 2008 (resolution EUR/RC58/R4).
The leaders of the Charter Drafting Group described the aims, content and development of the proposed Tallinn Charter: Health Systems for Health and Wealth. Member States and partners had developed the Charter:
to place health systems high on the political agenda and contribute to policy dialogue in the WHO European Region;
to provide guidance on prioritizing actions; and
to give a focus for strengthening WHO’s support to countries.
More specifically, it was expected to be a statement of the values and principles underlying health system development and the contribution of health to social well-being; to convey a common understanding of health systems and what they sought to achieve; to embody explicit commitments by countries to improve the performance of their health systems; and to offer the public and the media a tangible product conveying the core messages of the Conference. The Charter accordingly explored the relationship between health systems, health and wealth, set out the values and principles of health systems, and expressed the key commitment to move from values to action. It also defined the boundaries of health systems and described their various inputs and functions in service delivery, financing, resource generation and stewardship. The key messages of the Charter were that:
health systems involved more than health care, as effective health systems promoted both health and wealth;
investment in health was an investment in future human development; and
well-functioning health systems were essential for any society to improve health and attain health equity.