Primary care financing: a systematic assessment of research priorities in low- and middle-income countries

Felicity Goodyear-Smith, Andrew Bazemore, Megan Coffman, Richard Fortier, Amanda Howe, Michael Kidd, Robert Phillips, Katherine Rouleau, Chris van Weel

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Introduction Financing of primary healthcare (PHC) is the key to the provision of equitable universal care. We aimed to identify and prioritise the perceived needs of PHC practitioners and researchers for new research in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) about financing of PHC.Methods Three-round expert panel consultation using web-based surveys of LMIC PHC practitioners, academics and policy-makers sampled from global networks. Iterative literature review conducted in parallel. First round (Pre-Delphi survey) elicited possible research questions to address knowledge gaps about financing. Responses were independently coded, collapsed and synthesised to two lists of questions. Round 2 (Delphi Round 1) invited panellists to rate importance of each question. In Round 3 (Delphi Round 2), panellists ranked questions in order of importance.Results A diverse range of PHC practitioners, academics and policy-makers in LMIC representing all global regions identified 479 knowledge gaps as potentially critical to improving PHC financing. Round 2 provided 31 synthesised questions on financing for rating. The top 16 were ranked in Round 3e to produce four prioritised research questions.Conclusions This novel exercise created an expansive and prioritised list of critical knowledge gaps in PHC financing research questions. This offers valuable guidance to global supporters of primary care evaluation and implementation, including research funders and academics seeking research priorities. The source and context specificity of this research, informed by LMIC practitioners and academics on a global and local basis, should increase the likelihood of local relevance and eventual success in implementing the findings.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere001483
Number of pages10
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue numberSuppl 8
Publication statusPublished - 16 Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See:


  • primary healthcare (PHC)
  • equitable universal care
  • LMIC


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