Promoting high quality primary health care across the globe: Primary health care research consortium (PHCRC)
: A robust Primary Health care (PHC) system carries immense potential to improve health outcomes, especially in resource constraint settings. However, for PHC systems to live up to their leadership role we need sufficiently robust data to understand the strengths, target the weaknesses, understand the root causes, and strategic redirections of resources.
Against this backdrop, in 2016, Ariadne Labs – in collaboration with the Primary Health care Performance Initiative (PHCPI) and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research (The Alliance) – initiated work funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to inform the development of a Primary Health Care Measurement and Implementation Research Consortium or now known as Primary Health Care Research Consortium (PHCRC).
The mission of the PHCRC is to develop and maintain a global PHC research network led by organizations based in LMICs. To conduct prioritized and policy-relevant research to support the country and global efforts to build high-quality PHC systems in pursuit of effective universal health coverage (UHC) and the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
To achieve our aims, we have initiated collaborative research projects showcasing linkages between stakeholders in the global-north and the global-south.
- Led by Dr Rohina Joshi from the University of New South Wales, researchers from India, Mexico and Uganda are attempting to understand how the workforce is enabled to provide Comprehensive PHC.
- Led by Dr Wolfgang Munar researchers from El Salvador, Lebanon, and Malawi are performing a qualitative analysis to understand the gaps in performance measurement and management systems.
- In collaboration with the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases (GACD) the researchers are studying PHC service delivery models for chronic disease management in resource constraint settings.
- The PHCRC and the Besrour Centre, Canada, are conducting a study to assess the integration of primary care with public health in the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination globally.
The PHCRC secretariat has been established in New Delhi and a steering committee meeting was held in February 2020 to discuss consortium plan, fundraising and communications. Two multi country research projects have been initiated by the steering committee and work is in progress. During the COVID-19 lockdown period, the PHCRC has also supported a survey on how primary health systems in countries worldwide are coping with COVID-19 response.
- Bob Mash, Primary Care and Family Medicine Network (Primafamed), Sub-Saharan Africa (Chair of the PHCRC steering committee)
- Lisa R Hirschhorn, Ariadne Labs, United States of America
- KM Saif-Ur-Rahman, International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh
- David Peiris, The George Institute for Global Health, Australia
- Felicity Goodyear-Smith, World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA)
- Fadi El-Jardali, American University of Beirut, Lebanon
- Wolfgang Munar, George Washington University, United States of America
Prior to establishing the research consortium, the members of the six organisations led by Ariadne labs, identified the gaps in global knowledge about what works in primary health care and prioritized a new research agenda that focuses on four key areas:
- organization and models of care
- quality, safety, and performance management
- policy and governance
- financing of primary care systems
The findings are published in 14 articles in a special issue of BMJ Global Health, “Strengthening Primary Health Care Through Research: Prioritized knowledge needs to achieve the promise of the Astana Declaration,” released online Aug. 16, 2019.