Minimum Primary Health Care Interventions for Child Survival: Setting the Research Agenda
Two immediate and rather obvious questions arise with regard to the subject of this article: namely, what is meant by "minimum"; and, as usual, the meaning of primary health care (PHC). A third, less obvious, question is contained within the apparently neutral, or at least technical, focus on "child survival" per se. While there may be strong practical reasons for focusing on the child, the condition and problems of children are undoubtedly closely related to those of their families which are in turn closely related to their being part of a particular community or group or class. Hence, it would appear to be beyond question that any discussion of child survival, in any but an individual or clinical sense, properly begins with the wider identification of the child's family.
The argument for studying child survival in this way does not mean that any analysis has been substantially completed once it has been determined that a child and its family are, say, Balinese Hindus or part of a highly educated European university community, or landless Guatemalan labourers. Rather, the fact that children and their families are parts of such communities/groups/classes is usually essential to understanding, and thus acting on, their condition and problems. In fact, the primary health care concept, being an essentially political one, was developed specifically by its initial mentors with a view to effecting positively the health situation of those belonging to communities, groups and classes at the "social periphery" of society. To argue that any definition of