Principles of Primary Health Care

Primary health care is required by many individuals in order to receive necessary health care services. Providing primary health care means that services should be accessible to all individuals who require various types of health services. Primary health care, as defined by the World Health Organization, is universally accessible health care that is socially acceptable, affordable and requires individuals to be more self-reliant with their health care needs.

Goals

    Primary health care has many goals, but the most important is introducing the importance of self-reliance to individuals. Individuals should know where health care starts, such as the home and the workplace, because this is where individuals typically spend most of their time. When individuals become more self-reliant, they may use various alternatives to prevent disease and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Health Service Requirements

    Health services should be accessible, affordable, acceptable and available to all individuals who require them. Typically, health care providers are located in centralized urban areas that most people can easily reach. Heath services should also promote the use of traditional medicine, such as essential vitamins and drugs.

Essential Health Services

    Health care providers should provide the essential health services that are needed by the majority of people in a particular area. This can include training based on the needs and priorities of the local or regional community. Health care providers should also be monitored with periodic evaluations in a community to rate their performance.

Participation of the Community

    Individuals should be involved in or at least made aware of how various health issues can affect their local community. Local advertisements or public service notices can be used to promote awareness of health issues such as smoking, being diagnosed with cancer or other health issues that can directly affect a community. A community can even start a local health organization to promote various issues at the municipal level.

ELEMENTS

    The term ELEMENTS is an acronym for the essential health services in primary health care. These include Education for health-related issues, Locally prevalent disease prevention information and the Essential immunizations that are needed. Services also include Maternity child care and health, the Essential drugs that are needed to remain healthy and Nutrition information required for a healthy lifestyle. The last services in ELEMENTS include Treatment requirements for various diseases that are communicable and non-communicable as well as Safe water and proper sanitation.

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