PHC in the News

Primary Health Care as a Foundation for Strengthening Health Systems in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Photo: Damiam Weikum/Photoshare

The PHCPI partnership recently published an article in the Journal of General Internal Medicine underscoring why primary health care is essential to building strong health systems. The article gives insights into the core quality functions of primary health care, and provides a framework for understanding primary health care system performance. Click here to read the full text of the article, and the abstract is below.


Abstract: Primary health care (PHC) has been recognized as a core component of effective health systems since the early part of the twentieth century. However, despite notable progress, there remains a large gap between what individuals and communities need, and the quality and effectiveness of care delivered. The Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI) was established by an international consortium to catalyze improvements in PHC delivery and outcomes in low- and middle-income countries through better measurement and sharing of effective models and practices. PHCPI has developed a framework to illustrate the relationship between key financing, workforce, and supply inputs, and core primary health care functions of first-contact accessibility, comprehensiveness, coordination, continuity, and person-centeredness. The framework provides guidance for more effective assessment of current strengths and gaps in PHC delivery through a core set of 25 key indicators (“Vital Signs”). Emerging best practices that foster high-performing PHC system development are being codified and shared around low- and high-income countries. These measurement and improvement approaches provide countries and implementers with tools to assess the current state of their PHC delivery system and to identify where cross-country learning can accelerate improvements in PHC quality and effectiveness.