sanders_david_e1005f1dc23bf22fcf7ca6f3a2086d0bArticle first-authored by the recently late Prof David Sanders

Primary health care (PHC), codified at the historic 1978 Alma Ata Conference, was advocated as the means to achieve health for all by the year 2000.

The principles of PHC included universal access and equitable coverage; comprehensive care emphasising disease prevention and health promotion; community and individual participation in health policy, planning, and provision; intersectoral action on health determinants; and appropriate technology and cost-effective use of available resources.

These principles were to inform health-care provision at all levels of the health system and the programmatic elements of PHC that focused primarily on maternal and child health, communicable diseases, and local social and environmental issues. PHC emphasised community participation through a network of workers at all levels who would be trained both “socially and technically”.