The core principles of primary health care are universal access to care, community participation, health equity and intersectoral coordination, according to the World Health Organization. Primary health care is a systemwide strategy, especially in developing countries, that encompasses these principles and a set of basic activities.
Primary health care is based on an equitable distribution of health services, irrespective of the economic status or location of the target population, states HowMed.net. Although primary health care is a responsibility of the state, it requires the participation of individuals, families and entire communities to promote the welfare of these entities. Communities are essential in the processes of planning, implementing and maintaining health care services. Primary health care also involves other sectors of community development, including education, public works, agriculture, food and industry.
Technology that is acceptable to those who use it and adaptable to their needs is also a common principle of primary health care, notes HowMed.net. Other essential elements of primary health care include proper nutrition, adequate supplies of clean water and basic sanitation, immunization against major diseases, treatment of common diseases, and provision of essential drugs. Other elements incorporated into primary health care in the 21st century include provision of reproductive health needs, food safety and prevention of noncommunicable diseases.