PHC Measurement and Improvement Initiative of the WHO EMRO

Jinan Usta and Michael Kidd centre left and right respectively.

Prof Jinan Usta, president of WONCA East Mediterranean region reports:

The first consultation meeting of the Primary Health Care Measurement and Improvement Initiative of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region was held in Cairo WHO EMRO regional office. This is a sub initiative of the WHO/ World Bank/ Gates Foundation PHCPI initiative (Primary Health care for Universal Health coverage) that is being funded by Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and is being run in collaboration with Unicef regional office and WONCA EMR.

WONCA was represented by Prof Michael Kidd past WONCA president and currently a member of the advisory group and Director of the WHO collaborating centre on family medicine and primary care; Prof Jinan Usta, president of WONCA East Mediterranean region and a member of the advisory group; and Dr Mohammad Rasoul Tarwaneh, president of the Jordanian Society of Family Medicine and also a member of the advisory group.

Of the 22 countries of the WHO EMRO, 20 were represented, many by family physicians and WONCA members.

The three day meeting included presentations of the three pilot countries (Egypt, Pakistan and Jordan) who started the measurement phase of the program and discussions of lessons learned and how to proceed further. The importance of integrating various health programs and packages was highlighted as well as the importance of family practice/medicine in achieving this integration and PHC for UHC.

The plan is to spread the experience to 19 countries of the region. The second consultative meeting was scheduled for the first week of December where the 19 countries are expected to present the data collected on the primary health care indicators collected.

WHO EMRO is the first WHO region to take a whole of region approach to measuring and strengthening primary health care and is doing so through a family practice approach. It was great to see WONCA EMR being given equal billing on this initiative with WHO EMRO, UNICEF and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (which is funding this initiative).