Implementing integration of primary health care and public health services to achieve health equality

Centre for Health and Development Murska Sobota

At the first edition of the Ljubljana Spring School in Slovenia, regions from throughout the WHO European Region presented a wide range of initiatives on implementing the transformation of primary care by strengthening cross-sectoral cooperation. The presentations by Wales in the United Kingdom, Catalonia in Spain, Veneto in Italy and Flanders in Belgium highlighted the key role primary health care plays in providing and securing a population’s health and in reducing health inequalities through proactive preventive services, coordination with public health services and participatory intersectoral action in relation to the widening inequalities in the European Region.

Strengthening integration of primary health care and public health services is one of the actions endorsed by the 53 Member States of the Region, as reflected in the European Framework for Action on Integrated Health Services Delivery.

Lectures were held in Ljubljana on 23–25 April, 2018. The School was organized by the Centre for Health and Development Murska Sobota with the support of the Ministry of Health and the National Institute of Public Health of Slovenia.

Experts from the WHO Country Office in Slovenia and the WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care, Almaty, Kazakhstan contributed to the event. In their presentations they highlighted the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals in improving health and well-being and illustrated how primary health care and public health integration could be strengthened.

They provided examples of countries and regions where such integration was achieved by:

  • stratifying population risks (Spain);
  • designing proactive care management programmes (Veneto region, Italy);
  • cooperating with community healthy life centres (Norway);
  • expanding the role of nurses for better managing chronic conditions (Samara region, Russian Federation).