Connect with us

PERSONAL HEALTH

Why Primary Health Care is Important

Published

on

Primary health care is a whole-of-society approach to health and well-being centred on the needs and preferences of individuals, families and communities.  It addresses the broader determinants of health and focuses on the comprehensive and interrelated aspects of physical, mental and social health and wellbeing.

From the World Health Organization: February 27, 2019

 

Key facts

  • Primary health care can cover the majority of a person’s health needs throughout their life including prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.
  • At least half of the world’s people still lack full coverage of essential health services.
  • Of the 30 countries for which data are available, only 8 spend at least US$ 40 per person on primary health care per year.
  • A fit-for-purpose workforce is essential to deliver primary health care, yet the world has an estimated shortfall of 18 million health workers.

What is primary health care?

Primary health care is a whole-of-society approach to health and well-being centred on the needs and preferences of individuals, families and communities.  It addresses the broader determinants of health and focuses on the comprehensive and interrelated aspects of physical, mental and social health and wellbeing.

It provides whole-person care for health needs throughout the lifespan, not just for a set of specific diseases. Primary health care ensures people receive comprehensive care – ranging from promotion and prevention to treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care – as close as feasible to people’s everyday environment.

Primary health care is rooted in a commitment to social justice and equity and in the recognition of the fundamental right to the highest attainable standard of health, as echoed in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and wellbeing of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services […]”.

The concept of primary health care has been repeatedly reinterpreted and redefined.  In some contexts, it has referred to the provision of ambulatory or first-level of personal health care services. In other contexts, primary health care has been understood as a set of priority health interventions for low-income populations (also called selective primary health care). Others have understood primary health care as an essential component of human development, focusing on the economic, social and political aspects.

WHO has developed a cohesive definition based on three components:

  • meeting people’s health needs through comprehensive promotive, protective, preventive, curative, rehabilitative, and palliative care throughout the life course, strategically prioritizing key health care services aimed at individuals and families through primary care and the population through public health functions as the central elements of integrated health services;
  • systematically addressing the broader determinants of health (including social, economic, environmental, as well as people’s characteristics and behaviours) through evidence-informed public policies and actions across all sectors; and
  • empowering individuals, families, and communities to optimize their health, as advocates for policies that promote and protect health and well-being, as co-developers of health and social services, and as self-carers and care-givers to others.

Why is primary health care important?

Renewing primary health care and placing it at the centre of efforts to improve health and wellbeing are critical for three reasons:

  • Primary health care is well-positioned to respond to rapid economic, technological, and demographic changes, all of which impact health and well-being.  A recent analysis found that approximately half of the gains in reducing child mortality from 1990 to 2010 were due to factors outside the health sector (such as, water and sanitation, education, economic growth). A primary health care approach draws in a wide range of stakeholders to examine and change policies to address the social, economic, environmental and commercial determinants of health and well-being.  Treating people and communities as key actors in the production of their own health and well-being is critical for understanding and responding to the complexities of our changing world.
  • Primary health care has been proven to be a highly effective and efficient way to address the main causes and risks of poor health and well-being today, as well as handling the emerging challenges that threaten health and well-being tomorrow. It has also been shown to be a good value investment, as there is evidence that quality primary health care reduces total healthcare costs and improves efficiency by reducing hospital admissions. Addressing increasingly complex health needs calls for a multisectoral approach that integrates health-promoting and preventive policies, solutions that are responsive to communities, and health services that are people-centred.  Primary health care also includes the key elements needed to improve health security and prevent health threats such as epidemics and antimicrobial resistance, through such measures as community engagement and education, rational prescribing, and a core set of essential public health functions, including surveillance.  Strengthening systems at the community and peripheral health facility level contributes to building resilience, which is critical for withstanding shocks to the health system.
  • Stronger primary health care is essential to achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and universal health coverage. It will contribute to the attainment of other goals beyond the health goal (SDG3), including those on poverty, hunger, education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, work and economic growth, reducing inequality and climate action.

WHO response

WHO recognizes the central role of primary health care for achieving health and well-being for all, at all ages.  WHO works with countries to:

  • Identify priority areas for improving health and context-specific approaches which draw on the technical expertise across the WHO.
  • Support countries to develop inclusive policies, in country leadership and health systems based on primary health care which promote health equity and works towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and universal health coverage.
  • Address the wider inequity and social determinants of health through multisectoral action.
Continue Reading

The Daily Do It

 

 

The News without the Noise

The Great Transition4 days ago

Understanding the Great Transition

The Great Transition4 days ago

Information, Communications, Media

The Great Transition4 days ago

Consumption, Materials and Resources

The Great Transition4 days ago

Food and Agriculture

The Great Transition4 days ago

Transforming Health

The Great Transition4 days ago

Education for a New World

Featured4 days ago

The Transformation of Energy and Transportation Systems

The Great Transition2 weeks ago

Going forward: A realistic action plan

Rethink X4 weeks ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink4 weeks ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Policy4 weeks ago

NO TO NUKES: Non-proliferation treaty conference ends in failure, ban treaty shows the way forward

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Innovation without Borders

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Information without Borders

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Affordable and Renewable Clean Energy

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Resources and Materials

Innovation without borders1 month ago

Improved Food Systems

Build for Change1 month ago

Why Endless Consumption of Our Finite Planet Will Take Us to Our Cliff of Doom and How We Can Prevent It

Featured1 month ago

Indigenous rice out-performs commercial varieties in nutrition value and tolerance to drought, flood, extreme weather

FOOD + AG.1 month ago

Reviving Jordan’s community, resilience and food sovereignty through urban wheat cultivation

FOOD + AG.1 month ago

An organic farming revolution in Thailand

Mobilized TV1 month ago

Heart Attacks Are Not Worth Dying For

Mobilized TV1 month ago

Rethink: Humanity’s Next Operating System

Mobilized TV1 month ago

Find out how your community could take on big business to serve the health of all.

Food and Land1 month ago

Understanding the Roots of the Food Crises and Preventing Future Crises: Resilience and a Deep Dive

Editorials2 months ago

Another Conference is not going to save us:

A web of Life for ALL Life2 months ago

Truths or Consequences

Build for Change2 months ago

The launch of “Rights of the Atlantic Ocean” campaign in Newfoundland

Build for Change2 months ago

What’s really going on in the Brazilian Rainforests?

Editorials2 months ago

To Save the Planet, Forget About the Globe (And Act Locally)

Weekly Exchanges2 months ago

A global information commons

Build for Change2 months ago

We are One

Build for Change2 months ago

The Power of us

Build for Change2 months ago

When Stars Collide

Build for Change2 months ago

Heal the World

People Planet Purpose2 months ago

A NEW STORY FOR A NEW WORLD

Rethink X4 weeks ago

Understanding where we’re at and how to get to where we are going

Video: Rethink4 weeks ago

0:00 / 20:59 Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning

Rethink X4 months ago

Out of Chaos Comes Creation: Understanding Transformation of Civilizations

Rethink X4 months ago

Understanding the Repeating Patterns of History: Growth / Collapse / Transformation

Mobilized News Network7 months ago

Clarity Above all Else

Paradigm Change7 months ago

Nuremberg Prosecutor at 102: Make Law, Not War.

INTERVIEWS8 months ago

GAIA TALKS: The Earth Speaks: Mohamed Ismail from Egyptians Abroad For Democracy Worldwide

Paradigm Change8 months ago

An Empowered World: People, we are Ready!

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Conscious capitalism and Raising the Bar of Human Possibility

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Open Collaboration on an Epic Scale: The Future is Cooperatively Decentralized

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming Energy and Transportation

Paradigm Change8 months ago

Transforming agriculture and food systems for optimal planetary and personal health

Arts9 months ago

How The Pentagon and CIA Have Shaped Thousands of Hollywood Movies into Super Effective Propaganda

A web of Life for ALL Life10 months ago

We are One

Mobilized TV10 months ago

How we can eradicate heart Disease

Mobilized TV10 months ago

Howard Bloom: Imagination Takes You Everywhere

Featured10 months ago

From Punk to Planet: Slam Dunk the Junk with Dave Street

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A Moral Responsibility: Jean Su, Ctr. for Biological Diversity

Mobilized TV11 months ago

On Free Speech TV: Rethinking Humanity with James Arbib of RethinkX

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Sustainable Architecture, Design and Building for a Sustainable Planet

Mobilized TV11 months ago

A better understanding of lawn care for Climate Care featuring Dr. Rob Moir of the Ocean River Institute

Mobilized TV11 months ago

Stories from the Reservation: Davidica Little Spotted Horse

Translate »