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: Primary health workforce learning in an era of COVID-19: is digital delivery here to stay?, sees us ‘in conversation’ with PCI Project Managers and colleagues: discussing their experience of the strengthening and development of primary health workforce capacity since COVID-19. Are we seeing a long-term fundamental shift in how this will be done? Or will things be ‘back to normal’ in a year’s time?

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, French and Arabic) 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