Primary Health Care & Its Impact on Nursing

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This paper aims to define the term primary health and explain its origins and development; also touching on the impact of primary health on the nursing profession. It will commence with an introduction to primary health and primary health care. Covered in this paper will also be the influence that primary health care has had on nursing and any alterations associated with its implementation. Primary health care aims to provide a health care framework that steps away from the acute care focus and brings to the forefront the utilisation of disease prevention and health promotion (Keleher, Parker & Francis, 2010; Mackay, 2007; Nelson, Wright, Connor, Buckley & Cumming, 2009). The inspiration for primary health care is thought to have come from many different avenues, from the missionaries work in developing countries to the health policies of Communist China. The utilisation of the ‘barefoot doctors’ – locally living health workers - in Communist China’s rural medical services in the 1950s, provided more inspiration for primary health care, as they combined the use of their traditional methods with Western medicine and had a emphasis on rural health care with a preventative focus, rather than urban health care with a curative focus (Wollumbin, 2012). With the forming of the United Nations in 1945, the concept of a health organisation that tackled global health issues was raised, thus three years later in 1948; the World Health Organisation (WHO) was created (World Health Organisation, 2013). But it was not until 30 years later in 1978, that the Alma-Ata declaration was signed by policy makers and health experts from 134 of the WHO member states, with a common goal of achieving “Health for All by 2000” (Chan, 2008; WHO, 2013). This declaration provided governments with guidelines to follow in order to achieve this goal, covering the main topics including the organisation of each level of health care with an emphasis on prevention as much as cure and also the need for...
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