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.

To increase recognition and support for PHC in the global development arena, and in particular to advocate for PHC as a foundational pillar of universal health care, PAI is convening the Primary Health Care Global Strategy Group (PHCGSG). The PHCGSG is a diverse group of civil society advocates and partners, with representatives from Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights, CHESTRAD International, Global Health Advocates, Kaiser Family Foundation, MamaYe Nigeria, PAI, PATH, Results, Save the Children (UK), and the White Ribbon Alliance.

PHC explicitly ensures a focus on equity, accessibility and quality of care. PHC core functions include:

  • Services are offered within people’s communities, at a price they can afford. PHC is the entry point into the health care system and the first and regular source of care for most health needs.
  • PHC delivers a broad spectrum of preventive, promotive, curative and palliative care across the life-course.
  • People are connected with trusted providers who address their ongoing health needs throughout their lives.
  • PHC serves as a hub from which people are guided through the health system, referring patients to specialists as needed and effectively following up to monitor health progress.

Learn more about the PHCGSG and Our Work

Download the PHC Expenditure and Budget Advocacy Consultation Report and Recommendations.








View Primary Promises: Access, Equity and Quality, a photo essay developed in partnership with the Alliance for Reproductive Health.

Download our new infographic: Primary Health Care is the Pathway to Universal Health Coverage (PDF) (PNG)


Read the opinion piece: Primary Health Care: The Path To Universal Health Coverage

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Read the fact sheet: Primary Health Care: A Pathway to Universal Health Coverage

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Follow us on Medium at Crossing the Divide for more on primary health care and the drive for equity, accessibility, and quality of care in the pathway to universal health care.