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- child health services
- primary health care
- adolescent health
- child health
- health care economics and organizations
Primary healthcare has been a global priority since the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration when it was identified as the most inclusive, effective, and efficient approach to promoting physical and mental health.1 The Astana Declaration of 2018 reaffirmed the central role of primary care as a cornerstone for achieving universal health coverage for all, including children.1
Less consensus exists on what primary healthcare concretely entails and which are the health services that can and should be delivered safely at the primary healthcare level for children and adolescents.
With the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), launched in the 1990s, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) set standards for the management of the most frequent causes of preventable mortality in children under 5 years.2
However, many important areas of child health are missing from IMCI, for example, non-communicable diseases and adolescent health. In addition, the quality of existing primary healthcare is not always optimal. Health professionals in primary care do not always have the appropriate training, evidence-based information, and resources required for holistic and good quality care.
To help solve these problems, the WHO European Regional Office has recently published the WHO Pocket Book of Primary health care for children and adolescents for the European region—based on evidence-based guidelines for health promotion, disease prevention and management (figure 1).
Contributors SC wrote the first draft of the manuscript. MWW and SJ provided critical appraisal of the manuscript. SC made subsequent revision.
Funding The development of the Pocket Book and related activities were partially funded by the Federal Ministry of Health of Germany.
Disclaimer The authors alone are responsible for the opinions expressed in this publication and they do not necessarily reflect the policies and positions of the WHO.
Competing interests MWW is a staff member of the WHO.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.