Declaration of Alma Ata

International Conference on Primary Health Care, Alma-Ata, USSR, 6-12 September 1978

“The Conference strongly reaffirms that health, which is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,

is a fundamental human right and that the attainment of the highest possible level of health is a most important world-wide social goal

whose realization requires the action of many other social and economic sectors in addition to the health sector.

It addresses the main health problems in the community, providing promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services accordingly; and includes at least;

  • education concerning prevailing health problems and the methods of preventing and controlling them;
  • promotion of food supply and proper nutrition;
  • an adequate supply of safe water and basic sanitation;
  • maternal and child health care, including family planning;
  • immunization against the major infectious diseases;
  • prevention and control of locally endemic diseases;
  • appropriate treatment of common diseases and injuries;
  • and provision of essential drugs;

It involves, in addition to the health sector, all related sectors and aspects of national and community development, in particular agriculture, animal husbandry, food, industry, education, housing, public works, communications and other sectors; and demands the coordinated efforts of all those sectors; 

It requires and promotes maximum community and individual self-reliance and participation in the planning, organization, operation and control of primary health care, making fullest use of local, national and other available resources; and to this end develops through appropriate education the ability of communities to participate;

It should be sustained by integrated, functional and mutually supportive referral systems, leading to the progressive improvement of comprehensive health care for all, and giving priority to those most in need;

It relies, at local and referral levels, on health workers, including physicians, nurses, midwives, auxiliaries and community workers as applicable, as well as traditional practitioners as needed, suitably trained socially and technically to work as a health team and to respond to the expressed health needs of the community.”

This detailed definition includes all matters required to create both healthy individuals and healthy communities.As such, it uses an ecological orientation, whole systems thinking and action research.

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