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Primary health care is vital because it involves addressing the health needs of every patient at the community level through the integration of care, prevention, and education. Therefore, it ensures that every community member is healthy regardless of socioeconomic status. Also, primary health care lowers the overall health care cost while promoting every community member’s health and access, which ultimately boosts the overall performance of the healthcare system. This is because it has aspects of preventive care which is an effective and less costly treatment approach.
Furthermore, primary healthcare and universal healthcare coverage are interrelated because their aims overlap. The primary purpose of universal health coverage is to facilitate everyone’s access to affordable, effective, and safe medicines and essential health services.
Therefore, universal health coverage can be achieved by designing strategies that reinforce primary healthcare to promote cost containment and equity.
The effectiveness of health policies can be evaluated using metrics that reflect the basic elements of primary care. These factors include patient autonomy, coordination of prevention, care and health promotion, population centeredness, and continuity of care. Research shows that healthcare systems with strong primary healthcare are characterized by increased socioeconomic equity, reduced unnecessary hospital admissions, higher patient satisfaction, better population health, and lower health costs. Also, these systems record high rates of follow-up and screening for serious diseases and are equipped to address the needs of individuals with comorbidity effectively.
Primary health care can be reinforced by shifting from approaches that aim to treat diseases toward methods that address specific medical needs of communities and individual patients. Primary health care allows medical practitioners to focus on continuity of care, comprehensiveness, and generalism. It challenges the “one size fits all” notion. Primary health care reduces a patient’s reliance on health professionals and supports them to become autonomous by equipping them to promote their own health.