Almost all people visit their GP as their first line of medical care when they have an ordinary health problem. Often, a primary care provider will develop a long-term relationship with a patient. Primary care professionals can help people with common health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and asthma. They can also refer patients to specialists when they are unable to solve their problem alone.
The purpose of primary health care is to promote health and prevent illnesses. These services are often delivered in community-based health centers. They include health education, family planning, and prevention and control of locally endemic diseases. They also offer free referral services to specialists. Primary health care providers also attend to the mental health needs of people with chronic diseases.
Primary healthcare services are an important part of the overall economic and social development of a country. Ideally, primary care is coordinated with other levels of health care, including tertiary care. Primary care providers should be able to provide comprehensive care for a person’s health needs throughout the lifespan.
The Alma-Ata Declaration on Primary Health Care, issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 1978, endorsed the importance of primary health care. It aimed to create health systems that provide health services for all, without geographic and social barriers. This was a major turning point in public health. However, the implementation of the declaration stalled for various reasons. In 2018, the governments of several countries and health organizations signed the Astana Declaration, which renewed the commitment to place primary health care at the foundation of universal health coverage.
Primary healthcare services include basic disease screening programs, prevention and control of locally endemic diseases, immunization against major infectious diseases, and family planning advice. They also involve a wide range of health care providers, including Primary Care Physician, nurses, and allied health professionals. In urban areas, primary care services are provided through polyclinics. Polyclinics are free, one-stop health centers that offer medical care, immunisation, and pharmacy services.
Primary healthcare services are particularly important in the early stages of diseases. They can provide valuable health advice when other health services are closed. For example, nurses on call can provide critical advice when the hospital is closed and other healthcare services are unavailable. Moreover, primary healthcare providers can provide treatment for the most common mental disorders. They can also address human resource shortages by integrating mental health services into the primary care system.
In order to develop a people-centered PHC system, a study must examine the needs and wants of patients. This study also needs to determine how to increase self-care options. It also involves creating team-based care models, increasing the number of health care professionals, and improving health information systems. A patient’s overall satisfaction with primary healthcare services is considered a valid measure of quality medical care. The study uses a questionnaire known as the General Practice Assessment Questionnaire (GPAQ), which has four subscales: “Healthcare Experience,” “Healthcare Quality,” “Healthcare Service,” and “Patient Satisfaction.”
Primary healthcare services are a necessary part of a country’s health system. These services are often provided by solo/group practices in urban areas, health posts in rural areas, and private practitioners. These providers vary in their educational backgrounds and services provided.
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