About Primary Health Care

Primary Health Care

FIP’s vision is a world where everyone benefits from access to safe, effective, quality and affordable medicines and health technologies, as well as from pharmaceutical care services provided by pharmacists, in collaboration with other healthcare professionals.

Our mission is to support global health by enabling the advancement of pharmaceutical practice, sciences and education.
All people, everywhere, deserve the right care, right in their community. This is the fundamental premise of primary health care.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), primary health care (PHC) addresses the majority of a person’s health needs throughout their lifetime. This includes physical, mental and social well-being, and it is people-centred rather than disease-centred. PHC is a whole-of-society approach that includes health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care.

A primary health care approach includes three components:

By providing PHC in the community as well as care through the community, not only are individual and family health needs addressed, the broader issue of public health and the needs of defined populations are too.

The principles of PHC were first outlined in the Declaration of Alma-Ata in 1978, a seminal milestone in global health. Forty years later, global leaders ratified the Declaration of Astana at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care which took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, in October 2018.

PHC — because it is about how best to provide health care and services to everyone everywhere — is the most efficient and effective way to achieve health for all.

Declaration of Astana on Primary Health Care, 2018

In 2018, the world came together at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, in terms of members states of the WHO, non-governmental organizations, professional groupings, to recommit to strengthening primary health care to achieve universal health coverage and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the Declaration of Astana. The conference, co-hosted by Government of Kazakhstan, the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), took place on 25–26 October 2018, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Declaration of Alma-Ata. The Declaration of Astana underlines the importance of primary health care to achieve the SDGs and this seminal milestone in global health provides an opportunity to reaffirm the principles of the Alma-Ata declaration.

WHO/UNICEF Operational Framework for Primary Health Care, 2020

The WHO/UNICEF Operational Framework for Primary Health Care was published in 2020 to translate the global commitments made in the Declaration of Astana into actions and interventions. Such actions and interventions can be used to accelerate progress in strengthening primary care-oriented systems and ultimately lead to a demonstrable improvement in health for all without distinction of any kind. The framework outlines the “core strategic” and “operational” levers, which go beyond the building blocks of a health system to identify crucial parts of the health system that can be leveraged to speed up progress on PHC. FIP’s Commitment to Primary Health Care programme is aligned with these levers to ensure pharmacists are strengthening PHC delivery around the world.

FIP’s Commitment to Primary Health Care Programme

In 2018, at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, FIP pledged its commitment to the Declaration of Astana on primary health care to accelerate progress in strengthening PHC. FIP organised regional conferences in 2019 to commit to action on primary health care. Due to the disruption of face-to-face events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, FIP continued to deliver digital events, and produce evidence of impact and guidance to pharmacists in 2020. 2020, also marked the launch of “The FIP Regional Conference for the European Region report” which acts as a unique evidence-based resource on pharmacy needs and priorities assessment in the European Region to deliver the next breakthroughs in pharmacy for better primary health care through the implementation of the Ankara Commitment to Action.

The launch of the FIP Development Goals (FIP DGs) in 2020 has been a milestone in advancing the pharmacy profession over the next decade globally, regionally and nationally, with wider global imperatives underpinning the UN SDGs and achievement of universal health coverage.

Building on the FIP DGs and the WHO/UNICEF Operational Framework on Primary Health Care, FIP launched the “FIP Commitments to Primary Health Care” programme with a global summit in 2021. “FIP Commitments to Primary Health Care” programme is directly linked to pharmacy’s imperatives and FIP programme areas, management of non-communicable diseases, ensuring patient safety and supporting prevention, as seen in the below diagram.

WHO/UNICEF Primary Health Care Measurement Framework and Indicators: Monitoring Health Systems Through a Primary Health Care Lens, 2022

Primary health care measurement framework and indicators: monitoring health systems through a primary health care lens”, which was published in 2022, is a joint report that reflects the activities of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Building on previous World Health Assembly resolutions, through the Declaration of Astana, member states reaffirmed their commitment to primary health care (PHC) as a cornerstone of sustainable health systems for the achievement of universal health coverage (UHC) and the UN’s health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and committed to make “bold political choices for health across all sectors”, “build sustainable primary health care”, “empower individuals and communities”, and “align stakeholder support to national policies, strategies and plans”.

The document responds to member states’ request in resolution WHA72.2 on PHC for guidance to assess, track and monitor PHC performance to accelerate progress towards UHC and the health-related SDGs. The indicators and the monitoring and evaluation conceptual framework presented in the document are based on and support the WHO-UNICEF’s operational framework for PHC published in 2020. The document aligns with and advances the WHO’s work in monitoring UHC and the SDGs, including the WHO’s 13th general programme of work, as well as other global health system monitoring efforts, thus minimising the country-level reporting burden and reducing the risk of duplication. The result of this alignment is a menu of indicators that countries can use and prioritise based on national context and health needs in an approach that is suited to the maturity of its health system.

The WHO-UNICEF PHC measurement framework and indicators is an excellent, fit for purpose resource to measure PHC-specific progress. FIP already has existing data on FIP Development Goals through its Global Pharmacy Observatory (GPO). The WHO-UNICEF framework and indicators could be used to validate the FIP DG indicators to report pharmacy’s progress towards PHC in 2023.

Prevention Non-Communicable Diseases Safety

FIP celebrated the publication of a global call to action on primary health care and a digital toolkit on primary health care for pharmacists at the global summit.

FIP plans to deliver regional PHC engagement events and global summits, to continue identifying and addressing global, regional and national priorities on PHC for pharmacists, with FIP members, and plans to report progress at the anticipated Health Ministers’ Summit in 2023. By 2030, universal health coverage across all regions will be established through pharmacy’s contribution in delivering primary health care, underpinning the achievement of FIP DGs and the UN SDGs.

Watch the video below to learn more about FIP’s primary health care journey since the launch of the Declaration of Alma-Ata towards 2030 to achieve FIP DGs and UN SDGs.