Priorities for primary health care policy implementation: Recommendations from the combined experience of six countries in the Asia-Pacific

Ryuki Kassai, Chris van Weel, Karen Flegg, Seng Fah Tong, Tin Myo Han, Sairat Noknoy, Myagmartseren Dashtseren, Pham Le An, Chirk Jenn Ng, Ee Ming Khoo , Kamaliah Noh , Meng-Chih Lee, Amanda Howe, Felicity Goodyear-Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Primary health care is essential for equitable, cost-effective and sustainable health care. It is the cornerstone to achieving universal health coverage against a backdrop of rising health expenditure and aging populations. Implementing strong primary health care requires grassroots understanding of health system performance. Comparing successes and barriers between countries may help identify mutual challenges and possible solutions. This paper compares and analyses primary health care policy in Australia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Data were collected at the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians (WONCA) Asia-Pacific regional conference in November 2017 using a predetermined framework. The six countries varied in maturity of their primary health care systems, including the extent to which family doctors contribute to care delivery. Challenges included an insufficient trained and competent workforce, particularly in rural and remote communities, and deficits in coordination within primary health care, as well as between primary and secondary care. Asia-Pacific regional policy needs to: (1) focus on better collaboration between public and private sectors; (2) take a structured approach to information sharing by bridging gaps in technology, health literacy and interprofessional working; (3) build systems that can evaluate and improve quality of care; and (4) promote community-based, high-quality training programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-357
Number of pages7
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number5
Early online date4 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • family doctor
  • general practice
  • global health
  • international collaboration
  • social determinants of health
  • universal health coverage

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