ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Another False Promise

It is good that the EPW published a set of four articles (22 November) to mark 30 years of the Alma-Ata Declaration in 1978, which set the goal of “Health For All by 2000 AD”. It will be worthwhile to reflect over the definition of primary health care (PHC) and its implications for building health services for the poor of the world.

It is a superb piece of abstraction of the manifold characteristics of PHC; almost every phrase, if not word, carries profound meaning, never before attained by any single document on public health. The Alma-Ata Conference had asserted that PHC was the “key to attaining” the target of health for all by the year 2000. It is emphasised that PHC reflects and evolves from the economic conditions and socio-cultural and political characteristics of a country and its communities. It may be emphasised that PHC is a process. It provides a road map for developing health services for all the countries in the world, from the richest to the poorest. The Alma-Ata Declaration was an outcome of considerable political churning among the countries of the world that was backed by some profound public health scholarship.

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