Primary healthcare policy implementation in South Asia

Chris van Weel, Ryuki Kassai, Waris Qidwai, Raman Kumar, Kanu Bala, Pramendra Prasad Gupta, Ruvaiz Haniffa, Neelamani Rajapaksa Hewageegana, Thusara Ranasinghe, Michael Kidd, Amanda Howe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    17 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Primary healthcare is considered an essential feature of health systems to secure population health and contain costs of healthcare while universal health coverage forms a key to secure access to care. This paper is based on a workshop at the 2016 World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) South Asia regional conference, where the health systems of Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were presented in relation to their provision of primary healthcare. The five countries have in recent years improved the health of their populations, but currently face the challenges of non-communicable diseases and ageing populations. Primary healthcare should be a core component in restructuring health systems. However, there is a lack of understanding among policymakers of the unique contribution of primary healthcare to the health of populations. This results in insufficient investment in facilities and low priority of specialty training in the community setting. Regional collaboration could strengthen the advocacy for primary healthcare to policymakers and other stakeholders. Priorities were investment in communitybased health facilities, and access to healthcare through professionals specialty-trained in the primary healthcare setting. This development fits the strategy of the WHO South East Asian Region to use communitybased healthcare in achieving universal health coverage for the Asian populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere000057
    Pages (from-to)Art: e000057
    Number of pages5
    JournalBMJ Global Health
    Volume1
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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