The Global Conference on Primary Health Care, hosted by the government of Kazakhstan, WHO, and UNICEF will take place on 25-26 October in Astana, Kazakhstan
Washington D.C (PAHO/WHO):--- Delegations from Member States of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) will renew their commitment to primary health care (PHC) this week, as a vital part of achieving universal health and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
The renewal of this commitment will take place within the framework of the Global Conference on Primary Health Care, to be held on 25-26 October, in Astana, Kazakhstan, on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Alma Ata Declaration, which defined PHC as a vital strategy for achieving health for all. The Conference is organized by the Government of Kazakhstan, WHO and UNICEF.
Since the Declaration of 1978, the values and principles of primary health care, which include the right to health, equity, solidarity, social justice and participation, and multisectoral action, to name but a few, have formed the basis of many of PAHO’s mandates and have guided the transformation of health systems throughout the Region.
World leaders will now support a new declaration, emphasizing the role of PHC in reorienting efforts to ensure that all people, everywhere, can enjoy the highest possible level of health. Countries of the Americas that are PAHO Member States, participated in the preparation of this declaration.
Universal health means that all people have access to quality, comprehensive services without having to face discrimination or financial difficulties. Universal health can only be achieved through health systems that are based on PHC, which is the foundation for an effective health care system.
Primary health care services, which are closer to individuals and communities, are able to meet the vast majority of a population’s health care needs throughout their lives, from prevention and treatment to rehabilitation and palliative care. Good primary health care leads to better health outcomes, better quality of care and longer life expectancy.
Government, civil society and academic delegations from Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, United States, Haiti, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico and Suriname are all expected to participate during the global conference in Astana.
PHC and universal health in the Americas
Throughout the 40 years following the historic Alma-Ata Declaration, the Americas have made important achievements that PAHO has highlighted in the publication, “From Alma-Ata to Universal Health: 40 years in the Americas Region”.
This year, the Annual Report of the PAHO Director, Carissa F. Etienne, also focused on primary health care, and PAHO dedicated the last special issue of its Pan American Journal of Public Health to the subject, with articles on the innovations that countries in the region have implemented in order to improve primary health care.
In 2014, countries of the Americas approved a resolution on access and universal health coverage in PAHO. This resolution outlines a road map for progress towards universal health in the Region, which seeks to address inequalities in access to health systems and services that prevent some of the population in the Americas from accessing care due to financial or geographical barriers.