Posted by: ihfgeneva | April 15, 2013

IHF´s participation in COLUFRAS 2013 – perspectives in implementing Primary Health Care

IHF was invited to the 4th COLUFRAS meeting in the city of Praia, Cape Verde. COLUFRAS was created to support health knowledge and ideas exchange among French and Portuguese speaking countries.

In this year´s edition, health decision makers from 22 countries discussed perspectives and shared experiences on the implementation of Primary Health Care (PHC).

Cases such as the brazilian PHC success are now well known worldwide but, according to particular conditions, PHC´s outcome varies from State to State. In other countries, such as Portugal, the significant expansion of the PHC services is promising but, although there is a recognition of further development of PHC, it appears that the discussion is often covering different perspectives.

For this reason, Eric de Roodenbeke, CEO of IHF, promoted the need to clarify between 3 dimensions of the Primary Health Care:

  • the key principles
  • the activities
  • the players

In a fast evolving context of health needs and possible responses from health providers, it is important to comply with PHC´s key principles that should be implemented by all health providers.

While there is clearly a lot of differences in PHC activities between advanced and low income countries, the separation is far more complex at the primary care level. This is why Mr. de Roodenbeke noted that is now a requirement to implement patient centered care in a context of proving chronic and multi-chronic conditions.

In the subject of the evolution of popular health needs, it appears that teamwork around family practitioners is becoming the PHC´s response for advanced countries, while the role of GPO´s frontline increases in Africa, following the examples of countries like Mali (which makes obvious that the boundaries of PHC are moving).

While, traditionally, PHC has been associated with low qualified health workers, present changes have demonstrated this is not true anymore. However, the real change in PHC delivery is not so much in health workers. Why? Because the key players are not the health workers anymore, but the patient. This is the real meaning of patient centered care, specially when dealing with chronic conditions. This type of progression is calling for mayor shift in health professional behavior which must be supported with adequate training.

Finally, it was stated that putting together these 3 dimension of PHC demonstrates that it is not reasonable to continue representing service delivery as a pyramid. PHC should now be viewed more as a Rubik cube, one that changes continuously according to the specific conditions at local levels within countries.



  1. Reblogged this on The healthiest beauty.

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