New commitment to primary health care
Countries reaffirmed the fundamental right of every human being to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and committed to strengthen primary health-care services at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care. The Declaration of Astana, unanimously endorsed at the conference by all World Health Organization Member States, makes pledges in four key areas: making bold political choices for health across all sectors; building sustainable primary health care; empowering individuals and communities; and aligning stakeholder support to national policies, strategies and plans.
HIV disproportionately affects populations that are in many countries marginalized, stigmatized, discriminated against and criminalized. The new commitment to primary health care presents a timely and unique opportunity to step up efforts to address the many barriers that those populations face in accessing HIV and primary health-care services. Addressing such barriers requires having the courage to respond to issues that are often considered sensitive or taboo—around gender, sexuality, identity, exclusion and power.
“UNAIDS is proud to be leading on community and civil society engagement, as part of our contribution to the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All. Only by taking AIDS out of isolation can we can save lives holistically, not disease by disease, issue by issue,” said Vinay P. Saldanha, Director of the UNAIDS Regional Support Team for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
UNAIDS’ contribution to the event, The AIDS response and primary health care: linkages and opportunities, sets out examples of how to integrate HIV services into primary health care and, conversely, how to use the AIDS response to further leverage primary health care. It calls for urgent attention to be given to the structural and root causes of ill health and for sexual and reproductive health and rights to be central to primary health care.
The Global Conference on Primary Health Care took place in Astana, Kazakhstan, on 25 and 26 October.