The Foundation of Every Health Care System
Primary health care (PHC) is the foundation of every health care system: the first contact and ongoing link between people and their health providers. PHC is how individuals and families connect with the health care system throughout their lives, from prenatal checkups and routine immunizations to the treatment of illness, rehabilitation and the management of chronic conditions. When PHC works, people are able to get the care they need to stay healthy.
Yet an estimated 400 million people around the world lack access to quality services at this basic level of care. Despite its crucial importance, comprehensive PHC is often the weakest link in a country’s health system: underfunded, understaffed, and deprioritized. Being unable to rely on public services forces people to seek unqualified providers. Paying cash for healthcare also pushes people into poverty.