Primary health is the approach to maintaining good health through preventing and treating illnesses. Primary Health Care (PHC) is a model of healthcare that empowers people to maintain good health through disease prevention, promotive measures, early diagnosis, and prompt treatment. It emphasizes primary (preventive) care over curative care.
Primary Health Care (PHC) is healthcare that empowers people to take primary responsibility for maintaining their own health and making appropriate judgments in the course of prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation. The primary health care approach includes priority actions taken, at the national (Public health), community (Health promotion), and individual level (Patient education).
Primary health care is not the same as primary care, which is the provision of integrated, accessible health care services by primary healthcare professionals. It has been defined in different ways by various organizations in recent years. The World Health Organization defines primary health care as “the art and science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting human health through organized efforts and informed choices of society, communities, and individuals.” Primary health care involves actions that are essential to promote physical, mental, social well-being at every stage throughout life.
The primary goal of primary health care is to provide personal preventive service to all members when they are healthy so that when members get sick they will have enough resources available when needed or seek preventive measures. The primary goals of primary health care are to:
Promote and maintain health
Detect and prevent disease
Manage illness and injury
Rehabilitate the sick
Support people in their efforts to remain healthy
The primary health care approach is based on the following principles:
Equity – everyone should have access to primary health care services, regardless of social or economic status.
Universality – primary health care should be available to everyone, without exception.
Appropriate Use of Resources – resources should be used in the most efficient way possible to achieve the greatest impact.
Participation – everyone has a right to participate in decisions about their own health, and primary health care should be based on consultation with and the participation of patients and their families.
Cultural appropriateness – primary health care should be adapted to the cultural needs of the people it serves.
Coordination and Integration – primary health care should be coordinated with other sectors, such as education, food and nutrition, water and sanitation, and social welfare, to achieve better overall outcomes.
The primary health care approach is widely recognized as the most effective way to achieve the goal of universal health coverage. It is also cost-effective, making it a valuable tool for improving public health in developing countries. By providing preventive services to all members of the community, primary health care can help reduce the burden of disease and improve the quality of life for everyone.
Essentially, primary health care is the foundation of a well-functioning healthcare system. It provides a way for people to take responsibility for their own health and makes it possible for them to get the care they need when they need it. The primary health care approach is based on sound principles and has been proven to be effective in achieving better health outcomes for all.