ACCESS Health International colleagues recently participated in the thematic working group meetings organized as a part of WHO SEARO’s recently established Regional Forum on Primary Health Care. Dr. Krishna Reddy Nallamalla, President (Asia), Maulik Chokshi, Deputy Country Director (Technical), and Dr Uma Aysola, Director, Communications, Relations and Partnerships were present at the meeting, held from June 20 to 22 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The WHO SEAR PHC Forum’s Thematic Working Groups gathered to address critical issues in primary healthcare (PHC) across the Southeast Asia Region. The meeting saw participants from governments and organizations from across the eleven member states of the WHO SEARO. ACCESS Health International led Global Learning Collaborative for Health Systems Resilience is a strategic knowledge partner of the Forum. While Dr Reddy serves as an advisor to the Forum, Dr Aysola is a member of the thematic working group on Community Engagement and Mr. Chokshi leads the thematic working group on PHC Investment.

The agenda focused on different thematic working groups and their respective topics. Member states and partners provided updates on PHC initiatives, including perspectives from WHO and partner organizations. The working groups delved into specific themes such as the PHC workforce, PHC quality, urban PHC, PHC investment and community engagement. Moderators facilitated breakout sessions to encourage in-depth discussions and the exploration of potential areas for joint action. The sessions culminated in a synthesis of the discussions, where potential areas of action and synergy were identified.

On the final day, the focus shifted to learning from Bangladesh’s experiences in PHC. The agenda included a documentary and virtual introduction of the Bangladesh Community Clinic, as well as a presentation on PHC progress, innovations, and future directions in the country. Breakout working groups addressed operational bottlenecks specific to the Bangladesh context, and the SEAR PHC Forum presented potential areas of action and discussed policy options and operational learning.

The SEAR PHC Forum’s Thematic Working Groups meeting in Dhaka served as a platform for sharing knowledge, collaborating on PHC strategies, and strengthening partnerships to improve healthcare delivery in the Southeast Asia Region.

A robust primary health care (PHC)-oriented health system is the most equitable and efficient approach for achieving universal health coverage and health security. To accelerate PHC-oriented transformation of health systems, Member countries of WHO South-East Asia Region, WHO, and Partners launched the South-East Asia Regional Forum for Primary Health Care-Oriented Health Systems in November 2022. The Regional PHC Forum will drive action across countries through capturing and facilitating implementation-focused knowledge and experience, strengthened collaboration across development, implementation, and research partners, towards Member State priorities, and enable joint advocacy for strengthened PHC investment in the Region. Member State priorities and needs wdrive the Regional PHC Forum, with partners providing support.

Share This