The Boston University Family Medicine Global Health Collaborative, formerly known as the Global Health Primary Care Initiative, works with ministries of health, medical school faculty, and primary care providers around the globe to improve the delivery of primary care. We provide technical assistance and consultation to medical universities in the development of Family Medicine specialty training for primary care physicians working to improve patient care at the community level. Our initiative also offers international experiences and training in clinical work, medical education development and primary care health system improvement.
Our faculty members have been involved in the development of Family Medicine and the improvement of primary care since the 1980s. They have worked throughout the world, including Russia, Hungary, Romania and Albania; Lesotho in Africa; Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, and Brunei in the Middle East; and China, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia in East Asia. We have two long-term projects in Lesotho and Vietnam where we have consulted for over a decade how to develop strategies for improving patient care at the primary care level.
Our main goal is to improve access to primary care in the developing world. Primary care consists of health delivery on the community level: the general practitioners, family physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who are the first responders to a community’s health needs. Improvements to the quality of primary health care can have dramatic effects on the health of a population. As primary care improves, so do essential health indicators, such as the incidence of injury, injury prevention, life expectancy, child mortality, and overall mortality from chronic diseases. Primary care and Family Medicine can also lead to reductions in the cost of health care.
At the Collaborative, we have found that a network of community health centers linked to district and provincial level hospitals are the paramount models for successful delivery of high quality primary care. As a result, the Collaborative is dedicated to providing health professionals and community-based centers with the education, training and resources needed to dramatically improve primary care in developing areas around the world.
For more information on the importance of primary care, please visit the WHO World Health Report 2008.