Primary health care response in the management of pandemics: Learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic

Donald Li, Amanda C. Howe, María-Pilar Astier-Peña

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Primary care is an essential foundation for the global response to COVID-19 pandemic. It plays a significant role in the health care response: identifying and triaging potential COVID-19 cases, making an early diagnosis, helping vulnerable people cope with their anxiety about the virus, strengthening compliance with prevention and protection measures, and reducing the demand for hospital services. Primary care teams have continued to address citizens’ health problems during the pandemic, adapting to strict social control measures imposed by governments such as closing of borders, lockdowns and self-isolation of cases and contacts. We describe the COVID-19 response from primary care in Hong Kong and China, based on their recent pandemic experiences. We also present that of a European country, United Kingdom, less experienced in pandemic management, but with universal and highly developed primary care with great social recognition. Finally, we point out some crucial learning for future pandemic management, highlighting the crucial need to improve the relationship between primary care and public health to improve pandemics response.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102226
JournalAtención Primaria
Early online date24 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • COVID-19
  • Epidemics
  • Family medicine
  • Health policy
  • Pandemic preparedness
  • Primary care
  • Public health

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