Background Strong primary health care (PHC) is the cornerstone for universal health coverage and a country’s health emergency response. PHC includes public health and first-contact primary care (PC). Internationally, the spread of COVID-19 and mortality rates vary widely. The authors hypothesised that countries perceived to have strong PHC have lower COVID-19 mortality rates.

Aim To compare perceptions of PC experts on PC system strength, pandemic preparedness, and response with COVID-19 mortality rates in countries globally.

Design & setting A convenience sample of international PHC experts (clinicians, researchers, and policymakers) completed an online survey (in English or Spanish) on country-level PC attributes and pandemic responses.

Method Analyses of perceived PC strength, pandemic plan use, border controls, movement restriction, and testing against COVID-19 mortality were undertaken for 38 countries with ≥5 responses.

Results In total, 1035 responses were received from 111 countries, with 1 to 163 responders per country. The 38 countries with ≥5 responses were included in the analyses. All world regions and economic tiers were represented. No correlation was found between PC strength and mortality. Country-level mortality negatively correlated with perceived stringent border control, movement restriction, and testing regimes…more

   Primary care perspectives on pandemic politics…more