WHO Advisory Group to Shape the Future of Primary Care

The recently established WHO Primary Health Care Advisory Group has pledged to seek innovative models to integrate primary care with public health services and set the course for primary care in 2030.

The Group – which held its inaugural meeting in June (20-21) in Almaty, Kazakhstan – wants to improve coordination between primary care and other health services, including hospitals and specialised services, and focus on integrating primary and social care, which is desperately needed due to the rising needs of the growing elderly population.

The 20 members have pledged to use their expertise to advocate for the strengthening of primary care, and address the key areas outlined in the European Framework for Action on Integrated Health Services Delivery, which countries of the WHO European Region endorsed in 2016.

WHO Regional Director for Europe Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab said at the meeting that “transformation” was now needed, and that this transformation demanded “intersectoral action”.

“It calls for partnerships and new relationships, as patients and populations become increasingly engaged. It also calls for new forms of relationships among health providers, and between communities and local, regional and national authorities,” she explained.

“Marginal changes are not enough,” she continued. “Our countries have adopted policies including Health 2020 and the Sustainable Development Goals, setting targets that do not allow for business as usual.”

Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan Dr Yelzhan Birtanov, who attended the meeting, remarked that the WHO’s role in health systems strengthening was highly valued. “This inaugural meeting is a unique opportunity to hear from other countries, and to share opinions with international experts in primary care,” he said.

The new Advisory Group will help facilitate collaboration with relevant sectors, partners and stakeholders, and provide a forum for sharing technical experience and knowledge on primary care.

Members of the WHO Primary Care Advisory Group include:

  • Yelzhan Birtanov, Minister – Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan
  • Masoud Dara, Coordinator – World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
  • Jan De Maeseneer, Chairman – European Forum for Primary Care
  • Nigel Edwards, Chief Executive – Nuffield Trust
  • Jill Farrington, Coordinator – World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe
  • Ian Forde, Senior Policy Analyst – Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Pascal Garel, Chief Executive – European Hospitals and Healthcare Federation
  • Nick Goodwin, Chief Executive Officer – The International Foundation for Integrated Care
  • Usman Khan, Director – European Health Management Association
  • Hernan Julio Montenegro von Mühlenbrock, Coordinator – World Health Organization
  • Salman Rawaf, Director – World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Public Health Education and Training
  • Valentina Sarkisova, Chair – European Forum of National Nursing and Midwifery Associations
  • Anna Stavdal, President – World Organization of Family Doctors Europe


The WHO European Centre for Primary Health Care is hosted in Almaty by the Government of Kazakhstan.


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