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Primary health care, often abbreviated as PHC, is

"essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and the country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-determination" (Alma Ata international conference definition)

It was a new approach to health care that came into existence following this international conference in Alma Atamarker in 1978 organized by the World Health Organisation and the UNICEF.

Primary health care was accepted by the member countries of WHO as the key to achieving the goal of Health for all.

As people all over the world people become more and more frustrated at the the inability of today's health systems and services to meet their needs, demand for a renewal of primary health care - and health for all - is increasing.

Selective primary health care is a form of primary health care in which diseases are more specifically targeted in developing countries to initiate the process of primary health care. In developing primary health care, which is the ultimate goal, selective primary health care can be a very useful tool in helping to alleviate some of the more pressing issues.

Four Essential components of primary health care

Universal coverageBy ensuring sufficient supply of medicines and services; removing financial barriers to access and ensuring social health protection

People-centred careBy transforming traditional healthcare delivery models (specialist, procedure or hospital-based) into people-centred primary care networks

Inclusive leadershipBy shifting from conventional "command-and-control" approaches, increasing participation of all stakeholders and moving from supply-led to demand-led policies and programmes

Health in all policiesBy ensuring that all relevant sectors (e.g. labour, environment, education) factor health into their agendas.


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