Ensuring primary health care
Strengthening of health systems
To achieve this objective, the following issues are essential:
- Those responsible in health policy and in non-governmental organisations are challenged to develop concepts for improving the health of all citizens in a country and to actively promote the implementation of these concepts.
- It is important that health professionals are well trained and willing to work also in regions that are difficult to reach and to adapt their initiatives to local conditions through innovative approaches.
- The communities at grassroots level must be involved and use their skills and opportunities to promote health and to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases. Many causes of diseases, such as poor hygiene or poor nutrition, can be tackled locally. In addition, some of the most common illnesses can be treated on site. As a result, referral to the health centre or hospital is limited to more serious cases.
- We need good systems of health care financing. The financial resources available at regional and national levels, as well as international funds, must be used effectively to improve health care also for neglected populations and people in rural areas.
- A good supply of medicines must guarantee the availability of essential drugs and diagnostic tools. As far as possible, medicines (generic drugs) should be produced locally or imported from other southern – instead of northern - countries.
- Only a good health information system can ensure that data at all levels of the health system are properly collected, entered and forwarded to districts and at national levels, so that they can be taken into account in the planning of new initiatives and action.
- Governments, non-governmental organisations and the private sector need to network, exchange information and cooperate rather than act independently of each other. Due to that, existing resources can be used more effectively.
- At all levels, the infrastructure of health care facilities must be improved to meet growing needs. As well, the accessibility of facilities for people in remote regions urgently needs to be improved.