oa Current Allergy & Clinical Immunology - Ethical issues in primary care

Volume 29, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-3607



This issue of is dedicated to childhood atopic eczema in primary care and for this reason it is appropriate to address some of the ethical issues related to primary healthcare. Primary healthcare (PHC) is regarded as the basis of the healthcare system, as it is intended to provide 'most care for most people, for most conditions, most of the time'. Gilson describe it as follows:

'Primary health care aims to promote health and prevent disease, using education as one of its main tools. It aims to cure sick people and help people with disabilities to improve the quality of their lives.It follows the approach that health is linked to a country's social, economic and political development. It sees health as dependent on the environment in which people live, the services to which they have access and the extent to which they are able to take responsibility for their health.' Van Rensburg emphasises that PHC is the portal of first entry into the healthcare system, that its remit is broader than simply primary medical or curative care, and that it may lead to referral to secondary and tertiary care, as appropriate. It is 'not cheap, simple or second-class care: comprehensive PHC implies interventions firmly based on scientific research and on broad-based planning, implementation and coordination of such care'.

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