Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, primary health care (PHC) systems in the WHO European Region have met the unprecedented surge in needs, with several countries responding by accelerating long-standing reforms and showing different degrees of adaptation and transformation in PHC. The WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care has now launched a new information series that highlights this transformation. Pragmatic, country-specific and action-oriented, the new PHC Country Vignettes will contribute to cross-country exchange of experiences and perspectives.
“The new Country Vignettes will shine a spotlight on the untold story of primary health care transformation during the pandemic,” said WHO Regional Director for Europe, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge. “The country-specific stories showcase pioneering approaches that have accelerated reforms across our Region, and clearly reflect the European Programme of Work, which is the roadmap for WHO/Europe and its 53 Member States for meeting expectations about health.”
Each Country Vignette will highlight the motivation for the chosen direction, describe the transformation that has taken place in the PHC system, highlight early achievements and their sustainability, and discuss lessons learned for implementation in other national contexts.
“Our goal is to inspire action and accelerate change by telling stories of transformation that took place during these very difficult times,” said Dr Melitta Jakab, Head of the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care. “We aim to show that when there is a will, there is a way. In most of the countries featured, change was necessary in order to better respond to the pandemic, maintain essential health services, and support the vulnerable. These experiences provide us with many valuable lessons on the pragmatic and rapid ways of solving often long-standing barriers in strengthening primary health care.”
As they tell the primary health care story of countries across the WHO European Region, the Country Vignettes will focus on the core priorities of the European Programme of Work, 2020–2025: strengthening the role of PHC in moving towards universal health coverage; protecting populations against health emergencies; and promoting health and well-being.
The Vignettes will also zoom in on the relationship between primary health care and the EPW’s flagship initiatives: the Mental Health Coalition; Empowerment through Digital Health; the European Immunization Agenda 2030; and Behavioural and Cultural Insights.