What is primary health care?

Primary health care is an approach to health and well-being that encompasses all society and is structured around the needs and priorities of individuals, families and communitiesIt deals with health and well-being in their comprehensive, interrelated, physical, psychological and social aspects.

Its essence is to provide care to the person as a whole with regard to health needs throughout life, and not limited to a set of specific diseasesPrimary health care ensures that people receive comprehensive care, ranging from counseling and prevention to treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care as close as possible to people's everyday environment.
Primary health care is based on a commitment to social justice and equity and on the recognition of the fundamental right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, as stated in Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Every person has a right to a standard of living sufficient to ensure health and well-being for himself and his family, especially at the level of Food, clothing, housing, medical care and the level of necessary social services, [...].
The concept of primary health care has been reinterpreted and repeatedly redefinedIn some contexts, it refers to the provision of ambulance services or the first level of personal health care servicesIn other contexts, primary health care is understood as a set of priority health interventions for the low-income population (also called selective primary health care). Others understand primary health care as an essential component of human development, focusing on economic, social and political aspects.

The World Health Organization has developed a coherent definition based on three elements:
  • Meeting people's health needs through comprehensive, advisory, protective, preventive, curative, rehabilitating and palliative care throughout the life span of a strategic basis, prioritizing the primary tasks of health care services that target individuals and families through primary care and targeting the population through public health as central elements to provide integrated health services;
  • Deal systematically with the broader determinants of health (including social, economic and environmental characteristics, as well as the characteristics and behaviors of people) through evidence-based public policies and procedures in all sectors;
  • Enabling individuals, families, and communities to optimize their health, as advocates of policies that promote and protect health and well-being, as participants in the development of health and social services, and as caregivers of themselves and others. 
Essential medicines 

Half of the world's population does not have access to medicines necessary for treatment
  • Poverty
  • Unavailability of the drug
  • bad management
  • Misuse
  • Pharmaceutical marketing imbalance and loss of integrity. 
Health care levels 

Health care services are often provided at three levels:
  • Primary health care centers that must be spread in every community, even if small
  • Then suburban hospitals (suburbs) and maternity centers in different regions
  • Then the central specialized hospitals in the main cities.