Lessons on advancing primary healthcare in Africa

Dec 09, 2021


Josphine Kinyanjui
Senior Associate, Policy and Advocacy, PATH Kenya
Waiting room at a health clinic in Kenya

Primary health care (PHC) is the most basic package of essential health services and products needed to prevent disease, promote health, and manage illness. In the case of preventing and treating diarrheal disease, PHC includes basic child health tools like immunization, oral rehydration solution and zinc, and health education for parents.

Last week, PATH, WACI Health, and Speak Up Africa hosted “Advancing Primary Health Care (PHC) in Africa: Lessons and opportunities for advocacy.”

Some of those lessons and opportunities included the following:

  • There’s need to strengthen health systems as a whole to ensure that they are people-centered, using a multi-stakeholder approach and adequate investments.
  • Policy development and implementation is key in advancing PHC in Africa. PHC legislations, policies, and frameworks must have appropriate national, subnational, and community context for monitoring, tracking, and accountability at all levels.
  • Collaboration and partnership in advancing PHC in Africa will drive greater impact. Civil society groups, including communities, can build momentum through development and dissemination of advocacy materials, tools, and messages in a coordinated manner. Importantly, it’s the role of civil society to demystify health concepts described in our policies and legislations for our communities and local networks and “leave no one behind.”
  • Build capacity of advocates including the capacity to advocate for PHC in partnership with policy makers for quality health care at all levels.
  • Evidence-based PHC advocacy is key for realistic people-centered interventions. Data must be a mandatory requirement prior to or during decision-making processes.


The webinar recording can be found here. It is the first in a series sponsored by PATH, WACI Health, and Speak Up Africa. To learn about future sessions, email advocacyandpolicy@path.org.


Photo: Patients and their families wait to be seen at Khwisero Health Clinic in Kwisero constituency, Kakamega County, Kenya. PATH/Anthony Karumba 2021