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New partnership to tackle global primary healthcare concerns

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A partnership has been created to strengthen primary healthcare across the world.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Bank Group and the WHO have come together to support countries to improve the performance of primary healthcare.

The Primary Health Care Performance Initiative (PHCPI) will support countries to strengthen key performance indicators for primary healthcare. This includes preventing epidemics like Ebola, improving women's and children's health, controlling infectious diseases such as HIV and TB and managing the rising burden of non-communicable disease, like heart disease and cancer.

Dr Margaret Chan, director-general of the WHO,said: 'Strong primary healthcare systems are where people turn in their communities to stay healthy and get care when they fall sick. When primary healthcare works, it can meet the vast majority of people’s health needs. Yet Ebola revealed what can happen, starting with primary care, when health systems are broken and in need of repair.'

The PHCPI will bring together health policymakers, practitioners, advocates and development partners. It will will at monitoring primary healthcare vital signs, improving the quality of primary healthcare data and promoting country collaboration and improvements.

'We know that better measurement can guide smarter, more effective planning and action,' said Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and a co-founder of PHCPI. 'It’s time to get serious about tracking and measuring primary health care performance, so that countries have the data they need to efficiently direct resources to improve the health of their citizens, especially women and children.'

According to the WHO, more than 400 million people worldwide lack access to essential health services typically delivered through primary healthcare. Many countries have identified primary care as an urgent priority but lack the data to pinpoint weaknesses and their causes, and drive improvements.

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