Community-Based Primary Health Care
Changing the Focus
The promotion of health, in its broadest sense, continues to be the central focus of Global Health Ministries (GHM) and its church partners. Extensive research conducted all over the world has clearly shown that an exclusive focus on improving patient care does save lives, but neglects the fact that most people in resource poor settings suffer and die at home. They never get to the hospitals. Thus, a focus on only hospitals and clinics does not change death rates, particularly of children and women of childbearing age at the population level. The research demonstrates that a community-based approach by hospital systems does improve levels of health and decreases death rates at the population level!
The key to this approach is to catalyze the energy of communities to cooperatively solve problems, which block the path to better health. Communities become partners of the health care system. This, in turn, increases the efficiency and effectiveness of hospital systems. GHM has added this approach to the ways we "help the hands that heal."
The term Community-based Primary Health Care (CBPHC) is used in the health and development literature to describe this approach. This approach acknowledges three realities:
1. Unhealthy behaviors contribute excessively to ill health and high death rates. These behaviors can be changed by community led and driven change.
2. An integrated approach is needed that acknowledges that other sectors (education, agriculture, entrepreneurship, the empowerment of women etc.) have a tremendous impact on health.
3.Community-oriented, people-centered services imply a paradigm shift. Power needs to be redistributed, giving communities more control and input to their health care and development.
Principles of CBPHC
Provide healing for patients & the geographically defined populations they come from.
Use resources in a balanced manner to support both lay efforts in the community & the health professionals in the partnering healthcare systems.
Build more effective & efficient primary healthcare systems through partnerships with the populations served.
Measure success by the degree to which partnerships between healthcare institutions & communities result in improving measurements of mortality & community living standards.
What does CBPHC look like at GHM?
Respond at the invitation of our partners to strengthen their health care systems.
Advise partners on how to integrate CBPHC into their systems
Provide startup funding
Build supportive relationships between church and community
Promote and assist in providing monitoring and evaluation
Currently support CBPHC efforts in Nigeria, Madagascar, Tanzania, and El Salvador