BlessWorld Foundation International

Affecting the World Through Health
A Global Health Initiative

Impact of weak Primary Health Care Systems



Primary health care (PHC) is healthcare practice that entails rendering health promotional medical care and services to people, communities and populations, rather than simply treating specific diseases or conditions. Healthcare resources include health professionals, equipment, facilities, educational tools and workshops, health promotional programs and drugs. Basically PHC is the core and foundation of public health and global health because it integrates the aims and activities of both preventive and curative medicines. These activities include a spectrum of services that range from prevention (for example, vaccinations and family planning) to management of chronic health conditions including palliative and geriatric care. PHC is composed of three major branches and they include: Empowered people and communities; Multi-sectoral policy and action; Primary care and essential public health functions as the core of integrated health services. PHC is important because it is usually the first point of contact in a community. It is also cost effective and more accessible to people due to its unique design. Ideally, PHCs are designed to be specific to communities such that each local community has a PHC. That way, health problems specific to such communities are well understood so that health promotion and disease prevention strategies are targeted accordingly for effectiveness. PHC can meet the majority of an individual’s health needs over the course of their life.

Health systems with strong PHC deliver better health outcomes, efficiency and improved quality of care compared to other models. On the other hand, health systems with weak PHC do the opposite sadly- deliver poor health outcomes, inefficiency and poor quality of care. Weak PHC systems lack essential drug supply and the capacity to provide basic health-care services. In addition, issues such as poor staffing, inadequate equipment, poor distribution of health workers, poor quality of health-care services, poor condition of infrastructure and inefficient management are markers of weak PHC systems.

PHC provides essential health care which makes universal health care possible and accessible to all individuals and families in a community. In essence, health systems with strong PHC are necessary to achieve universal health coverage and the health related Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, PHC is an approach to health beyond the traditional health care system given that it focuses on health equity-producing social policy. It encompasses all areas that play a role in health, such as access to health services, environment and lifestyle. Therefore, a combination of primary healthcare and public health measures may be considered the cornerstones of universal health systems.

Due to under investment, lack of political will and misconceptions about roles and benefits, the development of PHC has been unequal across the world. Notwithstanding, Universal health coverage requires a renewed focus on primary care and their importance for individuals, health systems and health for all. Consequently, PHC meds complete participation and financial investment so that communities and countries can afford to maintain it at every stage of their development through self-reliance and self-determination.

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