Primary Health Care

Primary Health Care

The South African Constitution guarantees each citizen’s right to basic health care services. In an effort to better realize this right, the National Department of Health (NDoH) has recently embarked on efforts to reengineer the primary health care (PHC) system in the country. In addition to rolling out the National Health Insurance program to strengthen financial protection, NDoH is expanding access to three streams of PHC services: i) district-based clinical specialist services, focused particularly on maternal and child health; ii) community-based outreach services, with referrals to clinics when appropriate; and iii) school-based preventive and curative services for school-going children. HE2RO and partners from Boston University are involved in efforts to strengthen the evidence-base for the reengineering, with ongoing evaluations of various PHC interventions in regions throughout the country.


  1. Innovations Research on AIDS (INROADS)


  • Assessing the Impact of Integration of HIV and TB Services into Primary Health Services in the Public Sector in South Africa: An Evaluation of Resource Utilisation at Facility Level

    Early in the HIV epidemic, in South Africa and other low income countries, HIV and TB services were provided in vertical programs as a result of disease-specific funding or approaches to service provision. Provision of separate services for specific health problems or specialisation usually means that patients need to visit separate and specialised clinics for their different health problems or needs, and can result in “missed opportunities” for service provision, fragmented and 
  • Financial Management at Primary Health Care Facilities

    Primary health care (PHC) clinics in South Africa often struggle to reach acceptable population coverage and treatment outcomes due to insufficient financial resources. One reason for this appears to be that prospective budgets for clinics are often underestimated, and needed resources are not requested in a timely manner. In order to provide adequate resources to clinics, provincial officials require information on service costs and projected service delivery volumes. However, in South Africa 
  • MHealth to Improve Community Health Worker Performance

    As part of the reengineering of primary health care in South Africa, the National Department of Health (NDoH) has prioritized the development of Ward-Based Outreach Teams (WBOTs) comprised of one nurse (the Team Leader) and 4 – 10 community health workers (CHWs). Each WBOT serves the population of an average administrative ward (~2,000 households); team CHWs provide home-based care and connect patients to clinics through referrals. During the next few years, the Anova Health Institute (Anova)