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Critical reflection on Find a current definition of PHC. Critique services that describe themselves as PHC to see how they match the original principles Essay Example

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Public Health Care

Primary Health Care (PHC)

Primary health care is defined as “Essential health care structured on sensible, methodically or scientifically sound and socially tolerable methods. The methods are also technology made unanimously available to individuals and families in the society through their full involvement and at a reasonable and sustainable cost in the fortitude of self-sufficiency and self-determination. It forms an integral part both of the country’s health system, of which it is the central function and focus, and of the overall social and economic development of the community. It is the primary level of interaction of individuals, families and group of people with the public health arrangement conveying health care within the reach of people; it also makes up the initial component of a progressive health care process”(world health organization, 2007) .

Primary health care is governed by several principles, among them, self-reliance, social equity, nation-wide coverage, inter-sectoral coordination and people’s involvement in the planning and implementation of health programs. It is health for the people by the people. PHC services mostly match these principles. Services such as affordability and continuity match the self- reliance principle. Appropriateness, accountability and acceptability match the principle of people’s involvement in planning and implementation. Certified public accountants audit PHC (Tylee, 1998).

In addition, the services are accessible geographically, culturally and economically hence national wide coverage. Acceptability depends on the nature of communication between a client and the health care provider. That is whether the patient can trust the service and the provider. Other services provide are completeness in terms of prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment, follow up measures and rehabilitation matching the principle of inter-sectoral coordination (Tylee, 1998).

The principle of self-reliance focuses on the individual, community and the family. It aims at not only relying on donor funded health care services but also supporting work done by voluntary health care providers. It also recognizes that most of the health problems are dealt with in informal heath care systems. It recognizes the priority of the clients. It is health care for the people by the people. Community is involved in planning, implementation and evaluation of health care. Though imposed system may be effective in fighting diseases, it has long-term effects. It is also necessary to recognize that traditional medicine was effective in curing diseases (.Eckermann, 2010).

PHC provides health care to the community, individual or family at need. It may not be direct medical care but inclusive of advice on disease prevention and living a healthy life in general (Eckermann, 2010).

Self-reliance and PHC as a whole succeeded in bridging the health gap between the rich and the poor in Australia by creating social responsibility. For example, they introduced a blame statement to the illiterates who did not take part in promoting health. In addition, the system increased self- reliance and mutual support (Tylee, 1998).

PHC faces problems in its implementation. First, it is seen as poor health care for poor people. Embracing foreign cultures and regarding them as perfect devalues PHC. It is also regarded more of a political achievement that a health care system (WHO, 2000). It also faces training problems. For example, rural areas have the largest demand for community nurses yet it has the least nursing coverage with the least experience (Tylee, 1998).

PHC has succeeded in broadening the concept of health, creating solidarity in a nation, instilling self- responsibility and social justice and equity (Tylee, 1998).


World Health Organization 2007, Declaration of Alma Ata, International conference on PHC, Alma-Ata, USSR, 6-12

Eckermann, A 2010, Bridging Cultures in Aboriginal Health, 3rd edn, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, Sydney, pp. 170-182

Tylee Peter 13/3/98 Primary Health Care: An Introduction retrieved on 23rd April 2012 from http://education4skills.com/phc/phc_m1.html

World Health Organization 2000, The Alma Ata conference on primary health care,

WHO Chronicle, 32, 409-430.