Encompassing the WHO's Declaration of Alma Ata (WHO 1978) and recent Primary Health Care: A Framework for Future Strategic Directions (WHO 2003), we define primary health care as:
Socially appropriate, universally accessible, scientifically sound first level care provided by a suitably trained workforce supported by integrated referral systems and in a way that gives priority to those most need, maximises community and individual self-reliance and participation and involves collaboration with other sectors. It includes the following:
- health promotion
- illness prevention
- care of the sick
- community development.
The Primary Health Care Research Information Service (PHCRIS) maintains an excellent page defining primary health care.