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Primary Health Care

Primary health care (PHC) refers to health care that is essential, practical, scientifically sound, and socially acceptable. PHC is an approach to goes beyond the traditional health care system to make essential health care available to all. PHC relies on social policy that promotes health equity.

Primary health care strives to achieve better health for all. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified five key elements of primary health care:

• Reducing exclusion and social disparities in health (universal coverage reforms)
• Organizing health services around people's needs and expectations (service delivery reforms)
• Integrating health into all sectors (public policy reforms)
• Pursuing collaborative models of policy dialogue (leadership reforms)
• Increasing stakeholder participation

Sources: World Health Organization (WHO). 1978. Declaration of Alma-Ata. Adopted at the International Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma-Ata, USSR, 6-12 September; Starfield B. 2011. Politics, primary healthcare and health. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health 65: 653–655 doi:10.1136/jech.2009.102780; Public Health Agency of Canada. About Primary Health Care. Accessed 3 July 2012.

WHO Web site http://www.who.int/topics/primary_health_care/en/