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WHO demonstration platforms for primary health care (PHC) – an innovative strategy for more successful PHC transformation

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In 2022, WHO/Europe launched 2 PHC demonstration platform projects – 1 in Kazakhstan and 1 in Sweden. The Kazakhstan platform shows the transformation from a biomedical model to a holistic, multidisciplinary, team-centred model, in which mental health care and social services occupy a prominent place. The recently launched platform in Sweden showcases a model of PHC service delivery in a remote, sparsely populated area that combines digital solutions and in-person service delivery to address access issues.

Real-world experience of WHO demonstration platforms for PHC

SSP Demonstration Platforms are set up to demonstrate successful SSP systems. They show how countries hosting these platforms have reorganized their model of care and aligned the elements that support the system, such as governance and human resources, in favor of the new model.

The concrete experience of the PHC demonstration platforms is structured in a 4 to 5 day visit during which decision-makers and practitioners from the countries that have hosted these platforms and from the visiting countries are brought into contact. Visiting countries learn about how to envisage and organize PHC in the host country, and have the opportunity to make contact with actors of change to see how, concretely, to transform a project into a reality overcoming barriers to implementation.

In this way, visiting delegations can learn more about how to transform PHC and discover ways to learn from the experience of other countries. The WHO European Center for Primary Health Care adapts the program to the current needs and context of the visiting country, and provides technical assistance for further implementation.

The Kazakhstan Demonstration Platform for PHC

The Kazakhstan Demonstration Platform for PHC was presented in March 2022 by Dr Hans Henri P.

It is not limited to writing reports or developing the best guidelines for practice. It shows countries in practice what effective primary health care is and engages them in its processes. »

Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan were the first countries to come and see the Kazakhstan platform. The 2 delegations were made up of decision-makers from the Ministries of Health of these countries, regional health managers, professors from university faculties of medicine, nurses and family doctors.

During multi-day visits, in March and September 2022, the invited delegations participated in tailor-made training programs, at the Center of Excellence for Primary Health Care in Enbekshikazakh, Almaty Oblast . They learned first-hand how this district is transforming the PHC system in rural areas through expanded multidisciplinary teams.

How to overcome barriers to implementation? How to rely on success factors? How to bring together the roles and responsibilities of the different stakeholders, including service users, to strengthen their primary health care systems?

Sweden’s Demonstration Platform for SSPs

Sweden is a pioneer in PHC, bringing services closer to the whole population, but also tackling the root causes of disease, with innovative solutions. Sweden’s demonstration platform for PHC, established in the province of Västerbotten, southern Lapland, was presented to the world on October 18, 2022.

This platform shows how PHC can be adapted to the contexts and needs of rural, sparsely populated and remote areas, such as southern Lapland, by expanding the scope of work of generalists and nurses and adopting innovative and remotely, involving drone technology and a wide range of telemedicine applications.

This powerful model combines the delivery of a wide range of services in person, in digital or mobile format, through multiple platforms. Patients are supported to navigate their care journey seamlessly, and are empowered to self-manage according to their needs, with a range of digital solutions. Powerful tools, such as funding policies and personnel policies, frame the system.

This kind of system-wide innovation requires active and supportive leadership, as well as a culture of collaboration among diverse stakeholders. These factors make the Swedish platform an excellent example for countries that have embarked on deep PHC reforms for rural and remote populations.

PHC reform figures prominently in this country’s plans to move towards universal health coverage and achieve better health outcomes. Georgia’s future rural health care organization involves moving from isolated rural practices to networked PHCs, integrating telehealth and telemedicine solutions. The study visit to Sweden provided excellent opportunities to design the new, nuanced model.

The WHO Demonstration Platforms for PHC are ready to answer and welcome questions from other countries in the WHO European Region with the support and coordination of the European Center for Primary Health Care of the WHO.

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