Two years ago, at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care (PHC) in Astana, world leaders committed to strengthening PHC as the cornerstone of resilient health systems as the most effective pathway toward health for all. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic has made acting on those commitments more urgent than ever.
On today’s second anniversary of the Declaration of Astana, we are thrilled to announce the launch of the Allies Improving PHC, 29 diverse organizations committed to advancing PHC on the road to health for all. This community is joining together across regions and issue areas to call for collective action on improving PHC as the most effective way to meet the majority of health needs in times of crisis and calm. If your organization is committed to PHC and interested in becoming an Ally, we hope you will reach out through this survey.
We are excited to kick off #StrongerwithPHC, a virtual campaign to amplify and remind the global community of the promise of Astana. To amplify this critical call for stronger PHC for all, we hope you will join in online using this social toolkit, which includes content to promote, graphics to share and handles to follow throughout this week (26-30 October).
We are also delighted to share a commentary in BMJ Opinion – co-authored by the PHCPI Steering Committee Members – which highlights the commitments made at Astana and the importance of redoubling our efforts to improve PHC as we continue to contend with COVID-19.
We must strengthen PHC as the cornerstone of effective, equitable health systems as countries recover from the pandemic and beyond. Today, let us be reminded that we are #StrongerwithPHC, and that together, we can make #HealthforAll a reality.
Beth Tritter Executive Director Primary Health Care Performance Initiative
The first session 4-7pm Central African time 9th September was moderated by Champion Nyoni. Participants were introduced to Mentimeter to provide feedback. There were over 100 participants from a number of countries in Africa (South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Malawi, Sudan, South Sudan, Tanzania) as well as globally (USA, Belgium, Germany, Lebanon, Argentina and The Netherlands. Participants felt overwhelmingly excited about the workshop with some anxiety around internet, times, unsure what to expect and being the first of its kind.
Shabir Moosa, shared what and who AfroPHC was all about. Champion Nyoni talked on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). After the first hour the session broke into two rounds of different group discussions of 15 minutes each with introductions and reflecting on MBTI. Prosper Tumusiime of WHO AFRO welcomed the session between the group discussions. He mentioned several key global documents, including the Astana Declaration, the political declarations on UHC and SDG, and African declarations for financing. He bemoaned the lack of progress in Africa and called for acceleration of UHC especially for good acceptable quality PHC. Health systems were a priority, guided by the Regional Committee Framework for UHC/SDGs, documents strengthening the DHS and the UHC Flagship. He requested a whole society approach and welcomed efforts of AfroPHC in building teamwork.
The initial group feedback shared by participants was that this exciting meeting was very interactive with considerable value-added. Feedback on the MBTI was that it was an interesting opener and conversation starter. MBTI was seen as a very useful tool in teamwork. A closing remark was that the breakup sessions were just great despite nervousness around the technical challenges.
The second session 4-7pm Central African time 10th September with ±100 participants was moderated by Bongi Sibanda. Participants were introduced more explicitly to Mentimeter. Participants shared their professions: a mix of family doctors, nurses and other disciplines. Most participants were from Southern Africa with participants feeling excited and energised. The agenda was exploring what the community expects from ambulatory PHC service delivery in Africa. There was a well-moderated panel discussion for one hour, including several leaders within AfroPHC. There was then discussion in small groups of 8-12. After regrouping participants were excited, inspired and encouraged. The feedback from all participants on “What does the community expect from ambulatory PHC service delivery in Africa” was mostly accessible, comprehensive quality care in partnership with communities. Group feedback was that the community expects holistic accessible, acceptable multidisciplinary team care (including community healthcare workers), public-private partnerships and referrals that are tailored to the needs of the community and in partnership with them. The feedback from participants on the way forward was that it needed to be based on Africa-specific, multidisciplinary and multisectoral collaborative networking and advocacy. Participants found the session interactive, value-adding and innovative.
The third session 4-7pm Central African time 11th September with ±100 participants was moderated by Shabir Moosa. Participants were introduced more explicitly to Zoom Rooms and Mentimeter. Participants were from South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Eswatini, Zimbabawe, USA, Germany and Argentina. Most were family physicians, family nurse practitioners, nurses, occupational therapists and a range of other professions. There was a quiz to get familiar with Mentimeter. People expected to interact more, meet primary care leaders from across Africa, learn about PHC in other countries, collaborate interprofessionally and across AfroPHC, and take action on a way forward to improve PHC in Africa. They enjoyed the panel discussions, interactions and group conversations.
Before the group discussions feedback was requested on “Who should be part of the PHC team in African PHC Service?” Nurses, doctors, pharmacists, community health care workers, dentist, social workers, occupational therapists’ clinical officers, and an array of others featured. There was a moderated panel discussion with leaders from AfroPHC and then discussion in small groups of 8-12 for 45 minutes on “Who should be part of the PHC team in African PHC Service?”, “How should the PHC teamwork in ambulatory PHC service delivery in Africa?” It was felt that all healthcare professionals and other stakeholders (patients, community and leaders) need to be part of the PHC team in an interprofessional team-based approach. There was tension between leadership by doctors and nurses, although a predominance expected coordinated, collaborative and consultative interprofessional teamwork. On “What support does the PHC team need in ambulatory PHC service delivery in Africa?” participants felt that PHC needed to be advocated for and prioritized with political and financial support and policies, education and training, infrastructure, community support, public-private partnerships, stronger supervision and teambuilding.
In closing participants felt that the workshop was outstanding for being highly interactive, informative, collaborative and networking. Suggestions for improvement were to have more networking workshops and include community voices.
On how we “Build PHC teamwork in Africa” participants suggested collaborations, regular workshops, training especially on teamwork, policy advocacy, and stakeholder engagement. On how we “Advocate for appropriate PHC and UHC” participants suggested good leadership, engaging politicians, community and PHC workers with a mix of research and training. Participants also wanted AfroPHC to be more formalized as an organization, with a conference/workshop statement emerging.
On the way forward most felt that AfroPHC should be formalized in an organizational format of a mix of individual membership with supporting organisations, with various activities suggested for AfroPHC to embark on, especially training, research, leadership and communication.
Primary healthcare is the backbone of all strong health systems and forms a critical part towards the achievement of Universal Health Coverage. Now more than ever before, primary care nurses particularly those working in rural and remote settings must be appropriately supported through robust education/clinical supervision to meet population health needs safely and effectively. I have been facilitating developments towards this work in Africa since 2014 both voluntarily and as part of my doctoral work. As part of my final Doctor of Nursing Practice Project, I am leading work on the development of an Afrocentric Family Nurse Practitioner to inform educational….more
We are well into the COVID-19 pandemic, and across Africa, there is a call to ease lockdown measures and restart the econo-my. However, it still falls to us as scientists, researchers, health care professionals, and leaders to keep up the message of physical distancing, use of masks and washing hands frequently.
Pandemics come without a rule book. We do not know how the disease will progress, as we are still understanding the virus, and effective therapies. In the interim however, we can continue to strengthen our work-force, and provide them with the tools to provide quality and effective care. AFREhealth has engaged in a series of ac-tivities to do just that. Webinars, publica-tions on websites and in scientific journals and even animations are being used. We can however, only build on this by having mem-bers share their experience and expertise. Write to us, either for the newsletter, or in the AFREhealth blog. Tel us what you need. Share with us your best practices. Share your frustrations and successes.
It is up to African researchers, scientists and healthcare workers, together with econo-mists and social scientists to define and re-spond to this challenge so that we can work for solutions for Africa ourselves and strengthen our systems for our people by understanding our local contexts.
This newsletter presents some of the COVID-19 work. It does present other activities as well. A reminder that though we are dealing with a pandemic, other activities and other diseases still still deserve our attention. Stay safe and healthy! …..
Johannesburg Health District’s Department of Family Medicine has developed a plan for the COVID-19 outbreak. Our concern is to protect patients AND you, as healthcare workers on the frontline.
The intervention is focused on three areas: community, facility and sub-district/district.
Community: the key elements of the community response by facilities are to ensure community stakeholder involvement, deploy CHWs into the community and ensure a clear consistent message.
Facilities: the key elements of the facility response is to set up a triage area at the facility gate to sort/screen/prioritise patients with flu symptoms, set up a temporary chest clinic to manage patients with flu symptoms, ensure strong protection of staff and management systems in this temporary chest clinic and have a strong overall approach by facility management.
District: The key elements of the sub-district/district response are to ensure availability of equipment/staff/consumables for the overall response, ensure clinical governance at facility level, support overall communication and explore expanded services and contingencies.
The details are spelled out in the documents below.
WHO (Global and AFRO), WONCA Africa and AfroPHC are planning a weekly webinar on COVID-19 to get an update on the situation, explore preparedness in Africa and to respond to questions. This will be at 1pm Central European Time on Fridays with the first webinar this Friday, 20th March. Each webinar will focus on different parts and countries in Africa. The focus this Friday is Anglophone Africa. It will be Francophone Africa next week. We will elaborate the focus for each weeks webinar here as we proceed. Please circulate the link to this news post to everyone in primary care in Africa. We really hope to reach to all family doctors and PHC team members on the frontline, to support each other and ensure their voice is heard at the highest level.
There will be an Advanced Practice Africa Region Symposium on the 18th of June 2020 at the same venue. This will explore the development of Advanced Nurse Practice in Africa.
Primafamed, an African network for family medicine education/research in over 25 countries, will also have its annual meeting on the 17th June 2020 at the same venue. This usually explores family doctor education and research but will focus on team issues in this meeting.
Various leaders in PHC across Africa will be there: family doctors from WONCA Africa, clinical officers from the African Network of Associate Clinicians, family nurse practitioners from the Association of African Advanced Nurse Practitioners, nurse leaders from the International Council of Nurses, public health practitioners from the African region of Towards Unity for Health, health educators/researchers from AfreHealth, multidisciplinary team members from AfriPEN, community health worker/community leaders from AMREF and a variety of other key stakeholders. We are expecting key people from WHO Global, WHO AFRO and World Bank to be there.
The likely cost for teas/lunches will be $25 per person per day for African delegates and $50 per person for non-African delegates. Payment will be by Paypal.