Promoting Primary Health Care to the Young Health Workforce: a new approach

hospitals

(Martha Dominguez de Gouveia, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Matheus Pupo Pereira Lima, a third-year medicine student at the University of Ribeirão Preto, in Brazil. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


In several countries, including Brazil, the traditional training of health professionals has emphasized the learning of biological process of illness in detriment of the study centered on subject and their determinants of health-disease process. By centralizing the training process in the learning of diseases, this model restricts the professionals’ practice to the hospital environment, the treatment of diseases to the detriment of integral care, and the dependence of complex technologies or procedures for diagnostic conclusion.
In this context, learning becomes compartmentalized and fragmented, favoring the emergence of early specialization.

The priority of diseases’ knowledge, but not of the subject and their family, social and work environmental’s makes the actions of health professionals limited and unrelated either to communities and their health services associated.

In order to change this scenario, there is a need to promote the Primary Health Care (PHC) to young health workforce, through the insertion of these workforce in social activities aimed at health promotion and disease prevention, ensuring the learning of the limitations and potentialities of the individual and team work process.

The PHC has been recognized by the World Health Organization as one of the key components of an effective health system as it recognizes and intervenes in the risk factors to which a particular population is exposed in order to prevent the emergence or progression of diseases. With the use of PHC, mortality, morbidity, hospitalization rates, increase in socioeconomic indicators of populations and reduction of government health expenditures are observed.

Similar experiences from more and less developed countries have demonstrated that PHC can be adapted and interpreted to suit a wide range of political, social and cultural contexts, given that primary health care is based on methods and technologies that are practical, scientifically proven and socially acceptable, to the universal reach of individuals, families and communities.

Promoting PHC for the young health workforce involves not restricting the performance of these professionals to the hospital environment or limiting their training only to the biological aspects of the diseases, but rather introducing them early in the communities in which they will act as health promoters, allowing the understanding of the particularities, demands and limitations of the societies that are inserted, as well as the understanding of the physical, biological, psychological, socioeconomic, environmental, cultural and political determinants of the health-disease process.

In this context, learning ceases to be compartmentalized, fragmented and passive, and becomes inclusive, responsible and participatory, allowing the workforce to develop health promotion practices that are coherent with social reality, creating or reaffirming the commitment of the young health workforce as agents of social transformation.

References

  1. Starfield B. Is Primary Care Essencial?. The Lancet, 1994; 344: 1129-33;
  2. Hall P. Making Primary Care People-Centred. The Lancet, 2014; 384: 1501-02;
  3. Adashi EY. Health Care Reform and Primary Care – The Growing Importance of the Community Health Center. N ENGL J MED, 2010; 362(22): 2047-50;
  4. Bazemore, AW. More Comprehensive Care Among Family Physicians is Associated with Lower Costs and Fewer Hospitalizations. Ann Fam Med, 2015; 13(3): 206-13;
  5. Lavras C. Atenção primária à saúde e a organização de redes regionais de atenção à saúde no Brasil. Saude soc, 2011; 20(4): 867-74
  6. Tanaka OY. Avaliação da atenção básica em saúde: uma nova proposta. Saude soc., 2011; 20(4): 927-34

About the author

Matheus Pupo Pereira Lima is a third-year medicine student at the University of Ribeirão Preto, in Brazil. He is affiliate to International Federation of Medical Student’s Associations of Brazil, in which he develops health education activities and promotes Global Health. Nowadays, he is developing a research line in Public Health, seeking to evaluate the impact of Primary Health Care in Ribeirão Preto city. He believes that medical training comprises a process of learning experiences and skills that should be centered on human beings and their needs as individuals and as community.

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