New pan-European strategy set to transform primary health care across the Region – World Health Organization


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WHO/Europe has released its region-wide strategy on primary health care (PHC), setting out a vision to transform PHC over the next years based on lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.  
Over the past 2 years, countries have taken bold actions to adapt and respond to the pandemic; many of these actions have transformed the way PHC is delivered to people in their communities. Inspired by these actions, the new strategy was endorsed by all 53 countries in the European Region at the 71st session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in 2021.  
“People deserve quality care that addresses their health needs, even in the midst of an emergency such as the pandemic,” said Dr Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Director of Country Health Policies and Systems at WHO/Europe. “Our new strategy builds on what we have witnessed over the past 2 years – PHC providing essential services while responding to COVID-19 needs – bringing this forward over the next months and years.” 
Concrete recommendations to strengthen PHC  
The new strategy includes clear, concrete recommendations on how countries can strengthen their PHC systems moving forward.  
Ranging from the need to tailor care to patients’ needs to investing in emergency preparedness in PHC facilities, the recommendations also build on the WHO European Programme of Work 2020–2025 – “United Action for Better Health”, in highlighting its 4 flagship areas and their links to PHC: behavioural insights, digital health, immunization and mental health.

“The pandemic has not only shown the importance of primary health care; it has revealed how fast it can transform, adjust and adapt to people’s needs, especially the most vulnerable,” said Dr Melitta Jakab, Head of the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care. “We hope that this new vision and way of working will enable us to inspire change and show tangible results.”
 
 
 
 
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