World Organization of Family Doctors
Primary health care (PHC) provides the basis of a strong health system, essential to achieve universal health coverage(UHC). WONCA represents 500,000 family doctors in 150+ countries working at the forefront of PHC. We are committed to providing, and advocating for, access to people-centered, comprehensive, coordinated and continuing care for all individuals and families in the context of their community. Rigorous and relevant research is essential in informing, establishing and maintaining strong PHC systems. Key areas are the organization of PHC (including different models of care), its governance, quality and safety issues, and financing. Such research is largely lacking, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).
Under the framework of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, WONCA advocates for research to inform and accelerate changes needed to strengthen PHC and support quality, people-centered UHC. WHO subdivides PHC into UHC, policy, leadership & governance, and primary care (PC) service delivery (provided by family physicians & non-physician practitioners, often with a team approach). While PHC research is the goal, most relevant projects should have a PC component to access and promote evidence that is relevant for healthcare.
Engagement of knowledge users (family doctors and other primary care providers) and recipients (patients and community members) from the beginning of the research cycle ensures integrated knowledge translation and implementation of findings. Such co-design is a core principle, and all should be actively engaged in generating questions, designing and conducting studies, and disseminating findings.
WONCA urges countries and international funders to invest in PHC and in PHC research, especially in LMIC, that will inform development of strong PHC. This will enable the goal of equitable high-quality health care to meet the health care needs of all people in every community in the world.