Primary health care measurement framework and indicators
11 Mar 2022
Primary health care (PHC), as outlined in the 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata and again 40 years later in the 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) document 'A vision for primary health care in the 21st century: towards universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals,' is a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to health that combines three core components: multisectoral policy and action; empowered people and communities; and primary care and essential public health functions as the core of integrated health services. By bringing together these three components, PHC creates the foundation for the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A PHC approach can help countries equitably maximize the level and distribution of health and well-being by focusing on people’s needs and preferences (both as individuals and communities) as early as possible along the continuum of care – from health promotion and disease prevention to diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care – and as close as possible to people’s everyday environments.
To continuously strengthen PHC, countries must be able to assess how decisions, actions and investments are addressing the broader determinants of health while improving service coverage, financial risk protection, and ultimately the health of individuals and populations. As countries strive to reorient their health systems around the principles of PHC, this document provides guidance to assess, track and monitor PHC performance to accelerate progress towards UHC and the health-related SDGs.
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