Nursing and Primary Health Care

Nursing is the backbone of every society’s health care delivery system. Nurses are considered primary health care providers and it is important that we should constantly challenge the boundaries of the profession as it is important that nurses identify, develop and improve their capacities.

Nursing has a significant role in attaining primary health care or universal healthcare for all. With adequate pool of nurses providing services to a community, better health outcomes will be achieved.

Based on the lectures of some of the renowned health advocates like Dr. Carl Taylor of John Hopkins University, Primary Health Care (PHC) pertains to three things: Basic, Community, and Evolution. ‘Basic’ for PHC means it is essential for survival; survival of the people, country as well as international relations. PHC also pertains to ‘community’ in terms of local involvement, which is the most highlighted characteristic of PHC as discussed in all lectures. And PHC is an ‘evolution’ as it depends to the evolution of the social, economic and political status of the country.

Dr. Taylor’s Roots of Primary Health Care (PHC) showed the history of PHC; when it started, how it started, and how it was perceive in the future. Since the beginning, there was already a need for health care amongst peoples and communities. Although technological advancements were not yet available, people had their ways to communicate and help each other in cases of epidemics or preventive measures of certain diseases. Thus, PHC is a basic need and component of every people, both in local and global perspectives.

He made emphasis on PHC at the community level; understanding the basic health care needs of the people, preventive and curative, especially in terms of reducing its maternal and child morbidity and mortality. Focusing on these, they were able to uplift the lives of many and made significant effect on the national data of maternal and child health. Meanwhile, social and economic indicators affect the kind of PHC of a certain country and community.

Given this history on Primary Health Care, nurses need to be advocates of primary health care, serving the country especially at the community level. It is also important to develop and hone their skills and knowledge in the profession and at the same time be recognized in their field of expertise. This is in line with our noble goal of providing primary care or universal health care for all.