Introduction, Characteristics, Importance and Components of Primary Health Care

Subject: Enviroment Population and Health

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Overview

Primary health care is an essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community. The facilities and services of PHC may vary in various countries and communities. Good health is fundamentally and intrinsically important to live a worthwhile human life. This note provides us the information about characteristics of primary health care (PHC) and different components of Primary Health Care.
Introduction, Characteristics, Importance and Components of Primary Health Care

Primary health care is an essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at the cost that the community and the country can afford to maintain at every stages of their development in the spirit of self determination.

Characteristics of the Concept of Primary Health Care (PHC)

  1. Easily available and most essential health services:The service delivered within the primary health care should be easily available and should meet the primary needs of the mass. It does not include sophisticated and specialized service. In fact, the health services which can be easily delivered to every individual come under primary health care.
  2. Acceptable for the family and Community:The services provided in PHC should be easily acceptable to every individual and community. The traditional and illiterate community like ours cannot easily accept any kinds of means and services. We can also change the traditional thinking and attitude of the people and make PHC services acceptable to them but it requires qualified manpower.
  3. Wholesome Community Participation:In this system, communities are encouraged to take the initiation in identifying their own health and social problem. Therefore, the integration of curative, preventive and promotional health services are given in a unified way by the participation of local mass.
  4. Community and nation can bear the expenses: PHC service is based on local technology and can be easily managed by the local people and community. It does not require more infrastructures and complex technology which can be easily handled by the national economy. If the planning is done to construct hospitals with modern technology in every village. It is very difficult to bear the expenses by the state. It is almost impossible for national economy. But primary health care system is cheaper and affordable to the people of community. The state also gets more benefits at low cost.

Importance of Primary Health Care

The importance of primary health care are as follows:

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  1. It is shaped around life partners of the population.
  2. It serves and meets the needs of the community.
  3. It can be delivered by the villagers after simple training and preparation, etc.
  4. It is based on available community resources.
  5. It helps to bring the health care into line with local needs and priority.
  6. It is fully integrated with community developmental activities.
  7. It is an integrated approach of preventive, pro-motive, curative and rehabilitation services for the individual, family and community.

Components of Primary Health Care

The facilities and services of PHC may vary in various countries and communities. However, the basic concept of PHC is the same. The Alma Ata conference has put forward eight important aspects of primary health care. They are:

Adequate supply of safe drinking water and basic sanitation

There is a close relationship between supply of water and sanitation. If there is no supply of water, the sanitary condition will automatically be affected. It is due to lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation, the gastrointestinal diseases like diarrhea, cholera, typhoid; roundworm, dysentery, etc. make us the victim. If we do not protect us from such diseases, we cannot maintain our good health. Therefore, a good supply of safe drinking water is absolutely necessary. Similarly, we should also pay our full attention and take necessary measures for good sanitation.

Health education

Good health is fundamentally and intrinsically important to live a worthwhile human life. Good health, of itself, is an end of all human endeavors. It health inhibits access to opportunities in education, work, income earning, political and cultural participation and other value dimensions of human life. In fact, health education communicates with the facts that help to promote the ways of healthy living and to solve basic health problems.

Nutrition

A balanced diet is highly necessary to live a healthy life. Sufficient supply of food and management of proper nutrition is necessary to get a balanced diet. We suffer from malnutrition if we lack a balance diet. Various health related problems emerge along with malnutrition. Therefore, proper supply of food and management of nutrition is one of the important aspects of PHC.

Immunization

Immunization is a widely accepted level of protection against a large number of communicable disease. People of developing countries due to lack of proper knowledge of health, poor economic status, and sophisticated curative health service are not a position to afford the expenses of treatment. In such a context immunization is the only major preventive measure against various communicable diseases such as T. B., Tetanus, Diphtheria, Whooping cough and poll-oi. So, the primary health care is giving more emphasis on immunization program-mes for the protection and development of health.

Provision of essential drugs

PHC has emphasized on the management of most necessary drugs. The health posts and sub health posts of our villages and communities manage and supply the required medicines for diarrhea, fever, pain, etc. free of cost. In addition, medicine is also provided for minor injuries and wound.

Availability and Distribution of Medicine

One of the major intentions of the primary health care is top distribute and make the most common medicine available, to the areas which help to control the primary illness.

Treatment of Communicable Diseases

In the absence of proper and time treatment on communicable diseases various rural people have died immature death. Treatment of various such diseases can be managed at the local level with short training preparation. So, in order to control death due to communicable diseases the primary health care organizes the training program-mes for local people, which help in the treatment of communicable diseases at local level.

Things to remember
  • Characteristics of the Concept of Primary Health Care are easily available and most essential health services, acceptable for the family and Community, wholesome Community Participation and community and nation can bear the expenses.
  • Aspects of Primary Healthcare are nutrition, health education, immunization, and availability of medicine,and treatment of communicable disease.
  • The Alma Ata conference has put forward eight important aspects of primary health care. They are: Health education, adequate of safe drinking water, nutrition, immunization, provision of essential drugs, availability and distribution of medicine, treatment of communicable diseases.
  • Good health is fundamentally and intrinsically important to live a worthwhile human life. 
  •  Sufficient supply of food and management of proper nutrition is necessary to get a balanced diet.
  • Immunization is a widely accepted level of protection against a large number of communicable disease. 
  • It includes every relationship which established among the people.
  • There can be more than one community in a society. Community smaller than society.
  • It is a network of social relationships which cannot see or touched.
  • common interests and common objectives are not necessary for society.
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Questions and Answers
The importances of primary health care are:
  • It makes the medical services available to all the people at their door steps.
  • Primary health care is easily accessible as it is cheaper.
  • Such services can be easily provided in remote areas.
  • People of all age, caste and religion are benefited from primary health care.
  • It helps to mobilize local as well as natural resources.
  • It makes people w\aware about the necessary pr primary health services.
  • It increases the participation of people in health services program.
The elements of primary health care as drafted by Alma Ata conference are:
  • Provision of balance diet and maintain cleanliness and sanitation.
  • Prevention and control of local endemic diseases.
  • Immunization against major infectious diseases.
  • Maternal and child health care.
  • Provision of essential drugs supply.
  • Adequate supply of safe drinking water.
  • Management of health education.
  • Appropriate treatment of common diseases.
Primary health care is an essential health care made universally accessible to individual and acceptable to them through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford.
The main goal of primary health service is to provide primary health care at peoples reach. Primary health service is a democratic service i.e. of the people, for the people and by the people.
A wide range of illness at the community level can be prevented by villagers themselves after training and practice. This is known as first line care and\or primary health care.
Two objectives of primary health care are:
  • To make health service available at peoples door.
  • To make people capable of providing primary health care providing training.
The concept of primary health care was introduced in 1965 by WHO and UNICEF.
  • WHO - World Health Organization.
  • UNICEF - United Nations International Children Emergency Fund.
It was held on 6th - 8th September, 1978 by WHO and UNICEF.
134 countries participated on the conference held at Alma Ata.

Primary Health care is defined as essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community and the country can afford to maintain at every stage of development in the spirit of self- determination.

Primary health care promotes active participation of people in caring their health in right way.
Two characteristics of primary health care are:
  • Availability of health service.
  • Affordable for community and nation.
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