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What is Primary Care

What is Primary Care?

If we see in the domain of health and treatment, primary health care is one of the most important fields. All human beings inhabiting the earth at some point in their life somehow suffer from some disease in the course of their life. Thus,, one can safely say that human beings do need a doctor or professional health care to treat various health conditions of themselves or their loved ones. The first thing we experience or the first introduction to the health care system occurs via the primary health care system.

Establishment of Primary Care System

The primary healthcare system is utilized as the primary tier of healthcare systems throughout the world. Governments of developed, as well as developing countries both, work for the betterment of their masses. The aim of every government throughout the world is the provision of basic health care services to all citizens of its state.

Importance of Primary Health Care on the Global Level

On a global level, we see the role of the United Nations in this regard as well. The United Nations, being the platform representing all the nation-states of the world, is a place where we see projects for the benefit of all humanity and all living creatures on this planet. The UN works to solve the issues of developing and developed countries. One of the main objectives of the United Nations is to provide basic life necessities to all humans living on this planet. Working on this agenda, the UN came up with various projects for improving general health conditions. The famous Millennium Development Goals were a continuation of this project. It was aimed at providing basic, fundamental human rights to all people on the planet. Special focus was laid on people living in underdeveloped countries. However, due to the insurmountable nature of the task at hand, the UN was unable to meet its target Millennium development goals until 2002. To move forward, the UN introduced its next project under the name of Sustainable Development Goals to be completed by 2022. The said project aims at ensuring basic health facilities for people living in underdeveloped countries. This includes the prevention of water-borne diseases by ensuring free clean drinking water in all parts of underdeveloped countries. According to the UN charter for human rights, health is considered a basic fundamental human right of every human being according to the UN charter for human rights. Strengthening primary health care is the key to ensuring the provision of basic health facilities to people.

Key Facts about Primary Health Care

The key facts about primary health care include many the eye-opening statements

  1. According to reports, primary health care has the potential to cater to most of the health needs of an individual in a lifetime. It can play a pivotal role in preventing, treating, and palliative care as well.

2.      The fact, however, is that even today almost half of the population of this world does not have access to basic health services.

3. The paramount role of primary health care demands a full-on workforce, but the irony of the situation is that we today are facing a dire shortage of healthcare workers. The number is estimated at up to 18 million.

4.      Very few countries spend more than 40 $ per person in the domain of primary health care per annum.

 What primary health care actually is?

It is often misunderstood that primary health care is merely the responsibility of the government. In fact, primary health care is the approach of the entire society toward health while focusing more on individual needs regarding the health of individuals. Primary health care focuses more on comprehensive dimensions of general health care i.e. physical, social, and mental health care.

The main function is to ensure that people get a comprehensive health care plan to meet their day-to-day needs and in accordance with their daily environment as well. Primary health care focuses on establishing social justice and equity for all human beings.

According to Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, all human beings possess the right to live with sufficient health facilities for themselves and their family members. This also includes other necessities like food, shelter, clothing, and basic social services as well.

 Historical developments in primary health care:

 Throughout history, the concept of primary health care has been presented in multiple forms many times. Sometimes, it was presented as the medium to provide the first level of personal health care services to patients. While many other times it included working with marginal populations to provide some basic health priorities. At the global level, primary health care is now seen as an important part of human development and individual human progress.

 To overcome all these issues, WHO presented forth very inclusive definitions based on the following key principles:

1.      Fulfilling the health of patients via encompassing preventive and curative health care services.

2. In-detail analysis and focus on all health determinants by utilizing all public policies in all sectors.

3. In-detail analysis of all health determinants like environmental, social, as well as economic.

4.      Focusing on all broader facets of health as well.

5.      Doing efforts to empower people individually and on a family level.

Importance of Primary health care

  • Primary health care is the most easily responding cadre to rapidly changing economic, technological, and demographical advancements. Primary healthcare includes many stakeholders to focus on all such aspects and determinants of health.
  • Primary health care has the potential to be very effective in dealing with causes and the risks associated with bad health. It also improves primary health security as well. Working on improving the system at peripheral and other health facilities at the community level helps to build resilience in the entire community and nation against fighting diseases on a collective level.

Moreover, better healthcare services are necessary to fulfill the target of health-related sustainable development goals (SDGs) on a universal level. It will also help to achieve other targets of sustainable development goals, including poverty, hunger, education, provision of clean drinking water,  climate change, and gender inequality.

– Disclaimer –
This blog is for informational & educational purposes only, and does not intend to substitute any professional medical advice or consultation. For any health related concerns, please consult with your physician, or call 911.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed by Dr. Syra Hanif, M.D. on 08/23/2021

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  • About The Author

    Dr. Syra Hanif M.D.

    Board Certified Primary Care Physician

Dr. Syra Hanif is a board-certified Primary Care Physician (PCP) dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered healthcare.

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