Health care professions need to continuously utilize the strategies and principles of primary health care. Health care must constantly evolve and meet the growing demands of the population for quality health services. There are many issues, challenges and dilemmas that health professionals and community have to face in the area of health care and medicine. This involves the growing population, poverty, rise of chronic diseases, high cost of medical or health care and poor access and availability for life saving medical services. In these events the primary health care initiatives and concepts should bet taken into consideration particularly by the nursing profession. Primary Health Care or PHC is an alternative or an effort to shift services from hospital-based curative approach to a more of home or community-based preventive approach. It has been 30 years since the goals of primary health care were first highlighted on the Declaration of Alma-Ata during the International Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma-Ata, USSR in the year 1978.
One of the main objectives of primary health care is to make health services accessible and available to all. The World Health Organization supported the agenda believing that its values, principles and approaches are relevant to the needs of time. They believed that primary health care will be successful to fight the “three ills” of life in the 21st century including globalization of unhealthy lifestyles, rapid urbanization and the aging of populations. It is meant to revolutionized the health services and promote equity and better health services.
Understanding Health and Wellness
In order to understand health and wellness one must define what health is and the determinants of health.” Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity…” (Declaration I, Declaration Of Alma-Ata, 1978) Wellness similarly on the other hand means “a healthy state of wellbeing free from diseases”.
According to the World Health Organization the following are the identified examples of determinants of health. First is the income and social status, which shows that higher income and social status people have better health condition than the poor. Education shows that low education levels contributed to poor health, stress and lower self-confidence. Physical environment including safe water and clean air, healthy workplaces, safe houses, communities and roads that influences one’s health. Employment and working conditions that showed people in employment are healthier, particularly those who have control over their working conditions. Social support networks like support from families, friends and communities are also linked to better health. Cultures are customs and traditions, and the beliefs of the family and community that all affect health. Genetics that shows how inheritance play a part in determining lifespan, healthiness and the likelihood of developing certain illnesses. Personal behavior and coping skills like balanced eating, keeping active, smoking, drinking, and dealing with life’s stressors and challenges. Health services or the access and use of services that prevent and treat disease influences health and lastly, Gender since men and women suffer from different types of diseases at different ages. (WHO, 2009)
Children’s Health Fair: Primary Health Care and Partnerships
In a document from Journal Of Nursing Education with the title: Primary Health Care And Partnerships: Collaboration Of A Community Agency, Health Department, And University Nursing Program featured the capacity of children’s heath fair to be utilized to promote primary health care practices and services which will greatly benefit the three major organization that will partner in the project.
The project aims to resolve the community health care dilemmas and nursing education challenges. The said health fair partnership involved planning, implementation and evaluation process that was guided and motivated by the framework, philosophy and five principles of PHC. The five principles of the PHC include the focus on health promotion, illness and disability prevention, maximum community participation, accessibility to health and health services, interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration, and lastly the use of appropriate technologies like resources and strategies.
It integrated a number of teaching-learning strategies and approaches to help the nursing students to acquire the PHC skills needed to work effectively in a partnership and implement specific nursing activities. The nursing students were given the responsibility to acquire knowledge about the growth and development of a growing child. They also learn community involvement from the health fair strategy by initiating discussion and communication with people.
Interdisciplinary and Intersectoral Collaboration
Effective collaboration of partners from various disciplines and sectors of society can lead to essential, practical and scientifically sound, accessible, appropriately delivered, coordinated, and affordable health care (WHO, 1978).
One of the principles or concepts where the primary health care operates is the concept of interdisciplinary and intersectroal collaboration. In the article given it emphasized the need for partnership and collaborations of different organizations or groups that will play and ensure success of the health fair. It would not be all possible if only the nursing organization or medical profession will implement and organize PHC. They need the support of various organizations. Health and wellness will be achieved when there is collaborative relationship or joint effort for the realization of the goal. This involves the government, medical institutions and professionals, WHO, UNICEF, primary health organizations, nongovernmental agencies, funding agencies and even volunteer community health workers.
Relationship of Primary Health Care Concept to Health and Wellness
From observation maintaining health and wellness nowadays would seem to become a privilege or reserved only for those who can afford. The impoverished and marginalized groups are most of the time neglected and left to suffer from lack of health services. The demand for quality health services increases as different forms of illnesses arise. It would be a serious problem for a nation if many of its citizens continue to experience health deterioration. With all the threats to human health, the primary health care initiatives and the role of nurses should work together. Interdisciplinary and intersectional collaboration was given focus because there is a great need for collaboration from different sectors of the society to achieve the goals of primary health care. In Evolving Models of PHC Nursing Practice, one example given is the presence of a Rural Nurse Specialist that acknowledges the role of collaboration and effective healthcare intervention to safeguard the health and wellness of the people or community she is committed to serve
It was stressed earlier that” Primary health care is essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible…”( Declaration VI, Declaration Of Alma-Ata, 1978)
Success in any undertakings like that of the primary health care initiatives will not be successful without effective collaboration. The nursing profession remains one of the most challenging and demanding profession as they have to be available and well prepared to serve the people. Primary heath care targets mainly those groups that cannot afford access to health services like the ethnic or minority groups in remote places. The goal is for the community to support health reform programs and for the health workers to see significant improvement in the lives of the people through the decline of mortality rates, preservation and prolonging of lives, restoration of one’s health and effective population-based disease prevention.