Newsletter of the WHO Special Programme on Primary Health Care (Issue 2 – June 2021)

20 June 2021


Programme highlights

Upcoming events

News from the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care

Technical resources

Stories from the field

and more!


As the Declaration of Astana sets out, a comprehensive primary health care approach upholds the right to health, promote social justice, empower individuals and communities, and address the determinants of health. They are also fundamental to achieving universal health coverage. 

But primary health care (PHC) is not one and done. It is not a single intervention, programme or goal. Rather, it is an approach that must take into account a large number of medical, geographical, socioeconomic, environmental and political factors affecting health and well-being.

In order to ensure that a PHC approach is an integral part of the organization’s work across all three strategic priorities of healthier populations, universal health coverage (UHC), and health emergencies, as well as being practical and available at the country, regional and global echelons, WHO has established the Special Programme on Primary Health Care.

Through the WHO transformation agenda, the Special Programme on Primary Health Care and the UHC Partnership and Joint Working Team for PHC & UHC–a bottom-up three-level support platform to countries–merged in order to boost the implementation of the PHC approach in countries as a means to achieve UHC. 

The Special Programme on Primary Health Care serves three core functions: 

  • Country impact – Provides a one-stop mechanism for PHC implementation support to Member States, thus putting into action the Operational Framework for PHC; 
  • Evidence and innovation – produces PHC-oriented evidence and innovation, including measuring PHC progress, with a sharper focus on people left behind, while ensuring technical coherence and conceptual clarity on PHC-relevant global goods; and
  • Policy and partnership – Promotes PHC renewal through advocacy and partnership with stakeholders at global, regional and country levels

As an agile, integrated platform, the Special Programme on Primary Health Care provides advice and assistance in building people-centred, resilient and sustainable PHC-based health systems. One practical tool already available to help countries deliver on a PHC approach is the Operational framework on primary health care.