Primary Health Care — A New Strategy? Lessons to Learn from Community Participation
Primary health care (PHC) originally meant first-contact care of patients. In contrast, the expanded meaning of PHC, as promoted by WHO, has been referred to as the “PHC approach” . This front-line, first-contact care is being related to five principles: (1) equitable distribution, (2) community involvement, (3) focus on prevention, (4) appropriate technology and (5) a multisectorial approach. The emergence of PHC strategy coincided with the broad acceptance of an interrelatedness of health and economic development at the beginning of the 1970s — as underlined with regard to the changing World Bank’s health sector policy [8, 13]. Furthermore, the official adoption of the PHC approach by international organizations was paralleled by the promotion of the “basic needs” concept in international development funding at the end of the 1970s [3, 10, 16]. PHC has three main fields: (1) basic health services, (2) community involvement and (3) intersectorial development. Each of these main components has been stressed within development policies ever since colonial times with changing emphasis: the concept of basic health services has been focused on since the early years of WHO, whereas intersectorial development and community involvement are notions which were already considered as constitutent elements of community development (CD) in the early 1950s. What is really new is the combination of these concepts within one overall strategy.
KeywordsPrimary Health Care Community Participation Community Involvement Village Health Basic Health Service
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