United Nations Member States have unanimously agreed to the new Declaration of Astana and in doing so have committed to strengthening their primary health care systems as a key step toward achieving universal health coverage.
The declaration builds upon the 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata, which laid a new foundation for primary health care. While there has been progress since this initial declaration, this has been uneven, with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization saying “instead of health for all, we have health for some”.
The new declaration, which was adopted at the Global Conference on Primary Health Care in Kazakhstan last week, makes commitments in four key areas namely; to make bold political choices for health across all sectors; build sustainable primary health care; empower individuals and communities; and align stakeholder support to national policies, strategies and plans.
“Adoption of the Declaration at this global conference in Astana will set new directions for the development of primary health care as a basis of health care systems,” said Yelzhan Birtanov, Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan. “The new Declaration reflects the obligations of countries, people, communities, health care systems and partners to achieve healthier lives through sustainable primary health care.”