Primary health care (PHC) provides 90 percent of health services needed across the lifespan and is an important foundation for USAID’s Global Health programs. PHC promotes health awareness through disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Most of the reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health services, along with key communicable and noncommunicable disease interventions, are delivered as components of PHC. PHC also serves as the first line of defense against emerging infectious diseases, making these services critical for pandemic preparedness and outbreak responses. USAID is making focused investments to accelerate PHC and build local capacity to meet the health needs of every person at every life stage, while also preventing and better responding to health emergencies.
USAID Launches Primary Impact
In December 2022 at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, USAID announced its commitment to accelerate progress in primary health care, in coordination with PMI and PEPFAR, in an initial set of focus countries including Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Nigeria. USAID later announced the inclusion of Indonesia and the Philippines, expanding efforts in Asia.
Primary Impact, our renewed PHC focus, builds more intentional linkages across USAID’s current global health programs and initiatives to further strengthen PHC in the seven focus countries. By leveraging USAID’s global health programs to further strengthen PHC, we will have greater alignment and continuity of whole-person care across lifespans. This will better equip country health systems to respond to health emergencies and address their population’s lifetime health needs.
A robust, well-supported, and equitably distributed global health workforce is essential for delivering PHC services. USAID’s PHC approach will enable a comprehensive focus on the multidisciplinary health workforce required to deliver quality PHC services. In Primary Impact focus countries, strategic health workforce investments and coordination to deliver PHC services will be highly encouraged and will serve as a model for other countries on Global Health Worker Initiative (GHWI) implementation.
Community-based Primary Health Care is Critical
USAID engages civil society – community leaders, private sector providers, frontline health workers, and more – to identify and implement solutions for their health systems. USAID also supports countries to institute national community health policies that recognize the role of communities in planning, managing, and monitoring the quality of their PHC.
PHC is an essential pillar of community health. The PHC workforce, which includes community health workers (CHWs), provides the majority of primary health care services. As frontline health providers, CHWs deliver essential services during emergencies and play a critical role in pandemic preparedness and prevention. In Liberia, we supported a global knowledge exchange on scaling and sustaining community health policies and programs during the 3rd International Community Health Worker Symposium. The resulting Monrovia Call to Action calls on countries to invest in community health programs as an integral path to universal health coverage.
USAID also supports the Community Health Roadmap, a collaboration between donors, partners, governments, and private funders to increase global coordination for an institutionalized community health workforce. The Roadmap supports Ministries of Health to identify national investment priorities for community health that strengthen PHC and help achieve UHC.
How we support Primary Health Care
Every year on December 12, USAID recognizes Universal Health Coverage Day to reinforce that every person has the right to access quality health services, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. An important step in achieving universal health coverage is organizing health systems and service delivery around local communities and empowering them to take a more active role in their health. Ninety percent of essential health services a person needs throughout their lifetime are delivered through primary health care, making adequate primary health care at the community level urgent as inequities widen in the face of climate change, food insecurity, conflicts, economic crises, and other threats to the health and well-being of women, children, and adolescents.