Journal of Public Health and Primary Care

EDITORIAL
Year
: 2020  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 1--2

Call for integration of public health and primary care


Raman Kumar 
 Director, Institute of Family Medicine and Primary Care; President, Academy of Family Physicians of India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Raman Kumar
049, Crema Tower Mahagun Mascot, Crossing Republik, Ghaziabad 202016 UP

Abstract

Primary Care (PC) and Primary Health Care (PHC) are often employed interchangeably; however, they differ in practical application, context, and public health setting. There interface between Public Health and Primary Care is also not clearly understood by academicians and professionals. Due to a lack of proper understanding, the concepts are applied sub-optimally. WHO has called to close the gap between Public Health (PH) and Primary Care (PC) through integration. Academic forums and professional need to actively engage to develop support for the agenda of integration of Public Health and Primary Care.



How to cite this article:
Kumar R. Call for integration of public health and primary care.J Public Health Prim Care 2020;1:1-2


How to cite this URL:
Kumar R. Call for integration of public health and primary care. J Public Health Prim Care [serial online] 2020 [cited 2022 Jun 30 ];1:1-2
Available from: http://www.jphpc.com/text.asp?2020/1/1/1/305987


Full Text



 Understanding Primary Care and Public Health



Primary Care (PC) and Primary Health Care (PHC) are often employed interchangeably; however, they differ in practical application, context, and public health setting. There interface between Public Health and Primary Care is also not clearly understood by academicians and professionals. Due to a lack of proper understanding, the concepts are applied sub-optimally. WHO has called to close the gap between Public Health (PH) and Primary Care (PC) through integration. Primary Care describes the concept of “family doctor” and services delivered to individuals. The academic specialty is known as Family Medicine or General Practice. Whereas 'Primary Health Care' originated from the 1978 Alma-Ata Declaration and describes not only a level of care, but a more comprehensive approach, emphasizing universal coverage, accessibility, comprehensive care, disease prevention, and health promotion, intersectoral action, and community and individual involvement (WHO, 1978).[1],[2]

 Shared Goals



Historically, public health and primary care have shared a common goal of a healthy population. There is a complex interaction between Public Health and Primary Care. The Journal of Public Health and Primary Care (JPHPC) aims to close the gap between Public Health (PH) and Primary Care (PC) through integration. JPHPC also acts as an interactive forum for primary care providers, policymakers, health care administrators, community leaders, social scientists, health care funding agencies towards the provision of cost-effective, personalized, continued, comprehensive, holistic form of health care to individuals, families, and communities.

Public Health (PH) is a multidisciplinary domain, defined as “the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the society' organized efforts.” The multifaceted functions of public health provide the necessary tools to improve health through health promotion, protection, and disease prevention at population and individual levels. Primary care (PC) providers have been principally focused on the individual's health, but are increasingly oriented to responding to the health of the communities they serve. Barbara Starfield has defined primary care as “the first level of contact with the health system to promote health, prevent illness, care for common illnesses, and manage on-going health problems.”

 Integration and Interventions



The current service model needs to integrate key public health functions and interventions into primary care services. Primary care is the backbone of any effective public health system that aims for better population health. In settings where primary care has been effectively deployed and supported with adequate training and resources, family physicians, and primary care teams only refer around five percent of patients from consultations to secondary care. Countries more oriented to primary care have populations with better health and services delivered at a lower cost.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

References

1WHO Technical Series on Primary Health Care 2018: Primary Health Care: Closing the Gap between Public Health and Primary Care through Integration. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/primary-health-care-conference/public-health.pdf. [Last accessed on 2020 Dec 10].
2Muldoon LK, Hogg WE, Levitt M. Primary care (PC) and primary health care (PHC). What is the difference? Can J Public Health 2006;97:409-11.