International Federation of Medical Students' Associations

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Meeting: 
Seventy-second World Health Assembly (A72/1)
Agenda Item: 
- Primary health care towards universal health coverage
Statement: 

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, supported by the International Veterinary Students’ Association, the International Association of Dental Students and InciSioN, welcomes the efforts undertaken by the World Health Organization for their renewed commitment in recognizing primary health care as a main pillar in achieving universal health coverage.

Ensuring access to high-quality PHC represents the most important response to emerging global health challenges, including ageing populations, multimorbidity and migration influxes. PHC embodies a multisectoral healthcare approach that integrates health promotion, disease prevention, treatment and surveillance. We call upon Member States to recognise PHC as a fundamental component of health systems by making financial and political investments in its strengthening. To properly develop PHC, it’s important to improve working conditions and promote safe practices for PHC health professionals - not just primary care physicians, but all healthcare workers involved in comprehensive, interprofessional healthcare delivery. These can be safe working hours, fair payment, and continuing education.

Additionally, we call upon governments to prioritize the formulation of PHC policies that are adequately supported by resources and evidence. This should be done in collaboration with future health professionals, to ensure youth are engaged with PHC planning and delivery and feel attracted to working in a primary and community healthcare context. Alas, the entire community should be included and empowered: PHC must be a people-centred effort in the direction of UHC.

Primary health care is the cornerstone in the battle towards tackling diverse health determinants to provide the vulnerable access to the highest level of wellness by addressing their needs and eliminating health inequities. With robust political will, we can use primary health care as an avenue to reach universal health coverage.