What does it mean for fragile primary health care systems and workforce?

The implications of COVID-19 on primary healthcare systems in resource-poor settings – already weak as a result of under-investment over many years – and frontline health workers within this system, are enormous.  This global pandemic poses a new and serious challenge to all our efforts to achieve quality healthcare coverage for all.

Read Primary Care Perspectives: our new series of opinion pieces exploring resilient systems and healthy populations in the context of COVID-19 and beyond. The latest article: Ensuring Access to NCD services: spotlight on the key role of primary care, co-authored by Dr Bente Mikkelsen, Prof Ana Mocumbi, Dr Edna Juga, Dr Chamila Adam and Dr Philippa Harris, looks at the unique, and critical, role of primary healthcare in ensuring continuity of NCD care during a global health emergency. It shares first-hand the challenges being faced by the health system in Mozambique, many of which are common to resource-poor settings globally.

As a primary health care champion, PCI is quickly adapting its offerings to meet current needs, much in the way that a strong primary health care system must.

We are responding to requests from front-line primary healthcare workers across the globe by providing free open access to newly created COVID-19 e-learning resources (available in English and French) for those working in resource-limited settings. These tackle a range of topics from screening and triage, clinic operations, health workforce planning through to continuity of essential services including mental health.

We are also providing technical and clinical support to new and existing partners as they pivot and re-align health services. We are particularly glad to partner with humanitarian organisations for whom the challenges are multiplied, including supporting the WHO COVID-19 response in Syria.

Looking ahead, many more of PCI’s primary healthcare resources and services will be moving online as we adjust to some kind of ‘new normal’. We need to be ready to work alongside partners to step up our response in support of depleted health systems with a laser sharp focus on already vulnerable groups – such as those living with chronic conditions.


Read our CEO, Julia Beart’s, blog: Steering PCI Through a Pandemic: Standing Together In a Time of Crisis


[1] WHO: COVID-19 and NCDs