What does COVID-19 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.
Primary Care Perspectives is our new series of opinion pieces. They explore resilient systems and healthy populations in the context of COVID-19 and beyond. In our latest article, A recipe for disaster: COVID-19 and chronic diseases amid humanitarian crises, Prof Karl Blanchet (Geneva Centre of Humanitarian Studies), Dr Helen Bygrave (PCI & MSF), Dr Sarah Montgomery (PCI) and Dr Slim Slama (WHO) look at the the combination of COVID-19, chronic diseases and poverty – a ‘perfect storm’ – and what this means in places with even greater fragility, conflict and uncertainty.
Adapting our offerings
As a primary health care champion, PCI is quickly adapting its offerings to meet current needs, just as a strong primary health care system must.
COVID-19 e-learning resources
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.
Technical and clinical support
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.
The New Normal
Many more of PCI’s primary healthcare resources and services are now 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.