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Title: On the importance of primary and community health care in relation to global health and environmental threats: lessons from the COVID-19 crisis
Authors: Lauriola, P
Olmedo, P
Leonardi, G
Bouland, C
Verheji, R
Duckers, M
Van Tongeren, M
Laghi, F
Van Der Hazel, P
Goldemir, O
Segredo, E
Ethzel, R
Bianchi, F
Miserotti, G
Romizi, F
Bortolotti, P
Vinci, E
Giustetto, G
Santamaria, M
Serafini, A
Pegoraro, S
Agius, R
Zeka, A
Keywords: community health;public health;primary health care;global environmental health;sentinel doctors for the environment;global climate change
Issue Date: 10-Mar-2021
Publisher: BMJ
Citation: Lauriola, P., Martín-Olmedo, P., Leonardi, G.S., Bouland, C., Verheij, R., Dückers, M.,L.A., van Tongeren, M., Laghi, F., van den Hazel, P., Gokdemir, O., Segredo, E., Etzel, R.A., Abelsohn, A., Bianchi, F., Romizi, R., Miserotti, G., Romizi, F., Bortolotti, P., Vinci, E., Giustetto, G., Santamaria, M., Serafini, A., Pegoraro, S., Agius, R. and Zeka, A. (2021) 'On the importance of primary and community healthcare in relation to global health and environmental threats: lessons from the COVID-19 crisis', BMJ Global Health, 6(3), e004111, pp. 1-7. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2020-004111.
Abstract: In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become clear that primary healthcare systems play a critical role in clinical care, such as patient screening, triage, physical and psychological support, and also in promoting good community advice and awareness in coordination with secondary health care and preventive care. Because of the role of social and environmental factors in COVID-19 transmission and burden of disease, it is essential to ensure that there is adequate coordination of population-based health services and public health interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the primary and community health care (P&CHC) system's weaknesses worldwide. In many instances P&CHC played only a minor role, the emphasis being on hospital and intensive care beds. Political failures compounded this in supporting local community resilience. Placing community building, social cohesion, and resilience at the forefront of dealing with the COVID-19 crisis can help align solutions that provide a vision of “planetary health”. This can be achieved by involving local well-being and participation in the face of any pervasive health and environmental crisis, including other epidemics and large-scale ecological crises. This paper proposes that P&CHC should take on two critical roles: first, to support local problemsolving efforts and to serve as a partner in innovative approaches to safeguarding community wellbeing; and second, to understand the local environment and health risks in the context of the global health perspective. We see this as an opportunity of immediate value and broad consequence beyond the control of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Appears in Collections:Institute for the Environment

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