Integrating primary care and public health to enhance response to a pandemic

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Prim Health Care Res Dev. 2021 Jun 10;22:e27. doi: 10.1017/S1463423621000311.


Primary health care (PHC) includes both primary care (PC) and essential public health (PH) functions. While much is written about the need to coordinate these two aspects, successful integration remains elusive in many countries. Furthermore, the current global pandemic has highlighted many gaps in a well-integrated PHC approach. Four key actions have been recognized as important for effective integration.A survey of PC stakeholders (clinicians, researchers, and policy-makers) from 111 countries revealed many of the challenges encountered when facing the pandemic without a coordinated effort between PC and PH functions. Participants’ responses to open-ended questions underscored how each of the key actions could have been strengthened in their country and are potential factors to why a strong PC system may not have contributed to reduced mortality.By integrating PC and PH greater capacity to respond to emergencies may be possible if the synergies gained by harmonizing the two are realized.

PMID:34109936 | DOI:10.1017/S1463423621000311