Selective primary health care: a critical review of methods and results

JP Unger, JR Killingsworth

    Research output: Contribution to journalA2: International peer reviewed article (not A1-type)peer-review


    In the aftermath of the Alma Ata conference, three types of Primary Health Care (PHC), have been identified. Comprehensive PHC (CPHC) and Basic PHC (BPHC) both have a wide scope of activities, BPHC however does not include water and sanitation activities. Only one year after the Alma Ata conference, CPHC was attacked as not 'feasible' and selective PHC (SPHC) was offered as an interim alternative. SPHC only addresses 5 to 8 diseases, almost all of them falling within the realm of pediatrics. Our article critically analyses the methods and results of SPHC. It contrasts the lack of supportive data for SPHC and its methodological deficiencies with the extent of its adoption by bilateral cooperation agencies, foundations, academic and research institutions, and international agencies. We suggest that rather than health factors, the major determinants of this adoption have been political and economical constraints acting upon decision makers exposed to a similar training in public health
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalSocial Science and Medicine
    Pages (from-to)1001-1013
    Publication statusPublished - 1986


    • B780-tropical-medicine
    • Developing countries
    • Primary health care
    • Comprehensive
    • Selective
    • Methods
    • Community
    • Auxiliaries
    • Economics
    • Haiti
    • America-Latin
    • Caribbean
    • Planning
    • Health resources
    • Utilization
    • Hospitals
    • Life expectancy
    • Mortality
    • Review of the literature
    • Congo-Kinshasa
    • Africa-Central


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