25 Years of Primary Health Care: Quo Vadis? DOC JIMMY SAYS

Manila Bulletin, September 7, 2003 | Go to article overview

25 Years of Primary Health Care: Quo Vadis? DOC JIMMY SAYS


Byline: Dr. jaime T. Galvez Tan

Today 25 years ago was a historic occasion in the world history of health. More than 100 heads of states, and Ministers of Health gathered in Alma Ata, U.S.S.R. (now Almaty, Kazakhstan) to declare their commitment to Primary Health Care (PHC) as the major global and country strategy in achieving oHealth for Allo by the Year 2000. The call for oHealth for Allo ensures that the poorest of the poor and the marginalized will be reached with these essential health services via the Primary Health Care Strategy.

It was a radical departure from the conventional strategies of delivering health services. Instead of just waiting for people to come to fixed health centers and hospitals, the Primary Health Care (PHC) strategy states that doctors, nurses and midwives involve the community to participate in the identification and prioritization of their health problems and from there, plan, design and manage their own community health programs that respond to their needs.

Learning from the experiences of the obarefoot doctorso of China, the ofeldsharso in the U.S.S.R and volunteer community health workers in the Philippines, PHC encourages the training of village health workers to deliver basic health care, preventive and promotive health services to their own people. PHC also advocated for the integration of traditional medicine and traditional healers in conventional health care.

In the delivery of essential health services, e.g., maternal and child care, family planning, disease control, water and sanitation and the provision of essential drugs, the Primary Health Care strategy pushes for intersectoral and multidisciplinary approaches involving resources from education, social services, agriculture, agrarian reform, environment and public works.

So 25 years hence, where are we, in the Philippines, in achieving eHealth for Allo via the Primary Health Care Strategy?

Since 1999, the Philippines has been implementing the Health Sector Reform Agenda (HSRA) as its major strategy in improving health care delivery in the country. HSRA consists of five pillars, namely: health financing reforms, hospital reforms; interlocal health zone reforms; standards and regulatory reforms; and public health service delivery reforms.

Let us find out if the Primary Health Care Strategy has been applied in these health sector reform areas: community participation, intersectoral partnerships and addressing the needs of the poorest. …

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