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PUBH6003 Health Systems and Economics Case Study Sample


Systems thinking helps us to understand the elements and relationships/interconnectedness of parts to a system. Currently, the use of systems thinking is being advocated in public health as a new paradigm shift. It aids in the solving of complex and intractable public health problems and the identification of risk factors for the achievement of health systems goals/good population health outcomes.

You are required to thoroughly research and write a critical individual report on systems thinking and its application to strengthening the six building blocks of health systems for the reduction/prevention of a chosen public health problem/issue for a selected country.


You are required to:

• Identify a country (e.g., Australia or any other country) and a public health issue. Public health problems/issues include excessive alcohol consumption, food safety, heart disease and stroke, road traffic accidents, nutrition, physical activity and obesity, tobacco use, water, sanitation and hygiene, HIV, drug abuse and mental health;

• Provide a critical analysis of the concept of systems thinking and how it can be applied to public health;

• Discuss the six health systems building blocks as proposed by the World Health Organisation (WHO);

• Discuss why the chosen public health issue is complex in the context of the chosen country based on the building blocks and thus requires systems thinking; and

• Apply and analyse how systems thinking can be used to reduce/mitigate the selected public health issue along with the building blocks of the health systems of the chosen country.



Australia is one of the economically stable and developed economies of European Nations, however, the health and infrastructure are considered to be complexed owing to its funding and payment issues. For Assignment Help In the year 2019, 169, 301 deaths were reported within the region of which coronary heart disease was the leading cause in men that is 12% while 12% of females died due to mental health issues like dementia and Alzheimer's (OCHA, 2021). The child death rates were reported to be 76 per 100000 which is lower than in 2009. In addition to this, life expectancy at birth (females) has improved from 1960 which was 74.2 % as compared to 2019 that is 85% (AIHW, 2021a).

In addition to this, life expectancy at birth for males has also improved from 1962 that was 67.9 which has improved to 81. 9% in the year 2019. In recent times, COVID-19 has been the leading cause of death which is 898, however, the disease and incidence rates in Australia have been reducing for the past several years due to which mortality rates have also declined (Australian Bureau Statistics, 2021). The deaths induced by consumption of alcohol reported an upward trend in 2020. The mortality rates during the pandemic were highest with a median age of 86 years with preexisting conditions like dementia, hypertension, cardiac chronic ailments, and hypertension.

Additionally, in the public healthcare units of Australia, the hospital-bed density is 4.0 per 1000 individuals, however, in private houses, there is an average of 4.8 beds for 1000 people (AIHW, 2021b). Also, the Australian public healthcare access is lower or free treatment as costs are majorly covered through Medicare while 46% of the population receives medication from private healthcare units. Besides, the physician density recorded in the year 2015 was 3496 on 1000 population while the population on nursing and midwifery is reported as 12566 on 1000 people.

The chosen healthcare issue is obesity as average Australians are overweight which increases various health risks. More than 70% of Australians are detected with obesity with an underlying chronic health condition that increases the cost of healthcare by more than 30%. Thus, addressing this issue is important for ensuring prevention at an early stage (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2018)

The report will aim at discussing a system thinking approach for addressing obesity as a healthcare problem in Australia.

Obesity as a Healthcare Problem

Concept of System Thinking in Healthcare

System Thinking is referred to as a holistic approach for understanding the interrelation of components, and how each subset operates over a given time frame within larger contexts. In healthcare, it is assumed as a problem-solving approach for evaluating an issue. It analyses the interaction of surrounding elements which greatly impact the problem thus, the evaluation helps understand the entire process for suggesting goals and objectives (WHO, 2010). Thus, in a healthcare context, it is commonly referred to as system-based practice. For instance, for detecting public health issues, system-based practice overviewing individual rehearsal on patients is evaluated within the entire system of healthcare (Brennan, Kumanyika&Zambrana, 2014). Thus, it aims in making healthcare successful by undertaking goals for individual patient levels. However, many diseases like obesity have not been addressed appropriately through system-based practice due to the population with existing conditions coupled with overweight has been increasing for years.

Six Building Blocks proposed by WHO

Service Delivery- Service delivery is commonly assumed as the output of all resources used for making the healthcare system efficient. It might include workforce, supplies, finances, and others. Thus, for improving the outcomes, it is important for aligning the inputs in a way for enhancing the overall service delivery models (WHO, 2010)

The service delivery for providing healthcare resources to treat and prevent obesity includes in-patient and outpatient services. The hospitals face the struggle of huge managing patient counts which impacts early intervention strategies. However, several local governments like NSW have devised strategies like obtaining free health coaching through calls on toll-free numbers which helps individuals in receiving assistance on health goals.Dietitians Association of Australia is also created for publishing campaigns and devise strategies for controlling weight and supervising health-related objectives. However, the Australian Healthcare system has been facing issues like increasing costs, experience for the patients, accessible points of care which have impacted service delivery due to which obesity is considered to be one of the crucial healthcare issues from the past few decades (Clarke et al., 2021).

Healthcare Workforce - The capability of nations like Australia for meeting health goals relies largely on knowledge, motivation, and skills. There is a direct link between the health workforce and the health outcomes of the entire population (WHO, 2010). Australian Healthcare Industry has been facing acute healthcare shortages thus reducing capabilities for meeting the increasing demands from aged care and child care. It is estimated that by 2015, there will be a shortage of approximately 1000000 nurses in inpatient and outpatient services for managing the underlying condition of chronic disease like obesity.

Health Information System- WHO defines that every healthcare organization is only successful if it has reliable data for making an efficient decision. The health information system is highly dependent on the main key factors that are the generation of data, compilation, synthesis, and communication of information to vital stakeholders (WHO, 2010). Australian Healthcare is on the stage of technical transformation with digital strategies proposed by the government, although the application of technology is at infant to mature stage which poses issues in treatment and flow of information from service providers to insurance companies.

Accessing essential medicines- A health care system that is characterized as well functioning ensures that the population receives equitable medicines, vaccines, and other healthcare resources with approved quality, costs, and efficiency (WHO, 2010). For achieving equitable supply of medicines and other healthcare resources, national healthcare policies, guidelines, trade practices, pricing strategies must be effectively aligned with healthcare goals. Australian Healthcare system has an efficient supply of generic and specialty medication, although indigenous populations are provided medication through the community sellers for improving life expectancies.

Financing of Health system- Finances holds a crucial place for ensuring the efficacy of healthcare resources. If necessary, funds are not allocated then workforces would not be employed, no medicines will be supplied while the entire functioning of the healthcare system will be paralyzed (WHO, 2010). The financing healthcare system is dependent on two objectives that are for raising sufficient funds and providing financial risk protection to the entire population. Major issues of healthcarein funding from local and state governments. Also, Medicare increases the complexity of healthcare outcomes as payments are delayed due to a lack of transparency and efficient flow of information in treating chronic ailments like obesity.

Leadership and governance- Leadership and governance ensure the existence of a strategic policy framework that is combined with coalition, regulation, addressing system design, and accountabilities. As per WHO accountability is one of an intrinsic part of leadership and governance as it relates to balancing & managing relationships amongst the population, governmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, households, and other entities (WHO, 2010). Leadership gaps are quite prevalent at every stage of governance which has impacted efficient utilization of resources that has patient outcomes for people with obesity.

Barriers for Applying System Thinking Approach

The system Thinking approach includes the integration of elements for understanding the core issues. Australian Healthcare industry has been witnessing an increase in obesity rates in younger as well older populations. Thus, the system lacks implementation, integration, and evaluation of public health strategies at the community level. One of the profound steps taken by the Australian Government includes banning fast-food advertisement in prime time accompanied by restrictions on retail sectors for selling, promotion, and display of sugary drinks. Lack of uniform monitoring and supervision of meals served in schools and college canteens is one of the implementation issues which is owned barrier of leadership and funding. It is observed that the younger population has a greater inclination to barging on sports drinks, cheesy items, and other foods with trans fat (Clarke et al., 2021). The complex healthcare model accompanied by workforce shortage has increased obesity and related conditions. Technology can be a great facilitator for improving system thinking, although building IT infrastructure requires substantial investment due to which digital strategies have been delayed. Also, privacy and security-related issues have been increasing in past years that have impacted the larger implementation of digital tools for managing service delivery and patient outcomes.

Recommendations for Improving System Thinking

Australian Healthcare system is recommended for prioritizing whole food consumption policies accompanied with physical activities in school and colleges. Also, healthcare practices and campaigns that promote water and vegetable consumption must be introduced. The healthcare leaders are suggested for engaging the wider communities for meeting malnourishment targets while initiatives must be undertaken for improving food environment at school.


Obesity has emerged as one of the chronic health problems of Australia, thus, six building blocks by WHO have been used for identifying issues in detail. System-based approaches lack health policies for managing obesity. Thus, leaders need to collaborate with different stakeholders for applying a system thinking approach to improve the health and well-being of the Australian population.


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