40 years after the Declaration of Alma-Ata on primary health care Astana Declaration sets the course for achieving universal health coverage.
Countries from around the world have signed the Astana Declaration, reaffirming their desire to strengthen primary health care systems as an important step towards achieving universal health coverage. The Astana Declaration affirms the historic Declaration of Alma-Ata in 1978, where, for the first time, world leaders showed commitment to primary health care.
According to the Minister of Health of the Republic of Kazakhstan Yelzhan Birtanov, “the adoption of a declaration at the Global Conference in Astana will create a new direction for the development of primary health care as the basis of health systems. The new declaration reflects the commitment of countries, people, communities of health systems and partners towards achieving a healthier life for people through sustainable primary health care”.
“Today, instead of health for all, we have health for some,” said Dr. Tedros Adhann Gebreyesus, General Director of the World Health Organization (WHO). “We all have a serious responsibility to ensure that today’s declaration on primary health care allows everyone to enjoy their basic right to health everywhere”.
The Astana Declaration is taking place against the backdrop of a growing global movement for large investments in primary health care to ensure universal health coverage. Health care resources are mainly focused on disease prevention, rather than a strong, comprehensive health care system – this is a gap marked by several health emergencies in recent years.
UNICEF and WHO will help governments and civil society act in accordance with the Astana Declaration and urge them to support the movement. UNICEF and WHO will also support countries in reviewing the implementation of this Declaration in collaboration with other partners.
The Astana Declaration adopted at the conference defines four key areas for further work:
(1) making bold political decisions to improve the health of people in all areas;
(2) creating sustainable primary health care;
(3) empowering individuals and the public;
(4) building stakeholder support with national policies, strategies and plans.