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This Sunday is World Health Day, a yearly celebration by the World Health Organization (WHO) to create awareness of health issues that impact not just our local communities but our world community. This year's focus is on access to primary healthcare, which is still shockingly limited in many areas of the world:
The WHO stresses the importance of universal health coverage, which they define as a system where, "all people have access to the quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship." This depends heavily on quality, accessible primary health care services, which can include:
The advantages of a health care system with strong primary care are numerous, including improved quality of care, better health outcomes, and improved cost efficiency. These advantages come from improved patient education, more direct attention on specific needs, and more emphasis on preventative care. The close relationships that primary care physicians establish with patients improve patient morale and self-care, and help the patient advocate for their care. Primary care workers can also be crucial in advocating for communities with specific needs stemming from their cultures and traditions.
Quality health care is a basic human right and one that improves individual lives as well as economies and societies. The most important thing you can do to help extend this right to everyone is get involved! Here are some ideas: