Established in 2019, the PHCRC conducts prioritized and policy-relevant research that supports country and global efforts to build high-quality primary health care systems in pursuit of effective universal health coverage and the health-related sustainable development goals.
The consortium was developed in response to a need among low- and middle-income country leaders for demonstrated solutions, models, and strategies for overcoming challenges to building and strengthening primary health care systems that deliver high-quality, integrated, patient-centered care. Research on what works and what doesn’t often comes up short in critically important domains like how to finance primary health care, organize team-based care, and create implementation strategies for continuous quality improvement.
In a 2019 BMJ Global Health special issue, “Strengthening Primary Health Care Through Research: Prioritized knowledge needs to achieve the promise of the Astana Declaration,” 76 researchers, practitioners, and policymakers from 19 countries identified the gaps in global knowledge about what works in primary health care and prioritized a new research agenda that focuses on four key areas:
- organization and models of care
- quality, safety, and performance management
- policy and governance
- financing of primary care systems
Throughout the issue, researchers document the fragmented, incomplete, and, at times, nonexistent evidence of primary health care performance in 115 countries, of which 95 are low- and middle-income. New evidence gap maps provide a foundation for renewed, country-driven research agendas. Together, the authors called for the creation of a global research consortium to carry out prioritized research that bridges the divide between health policymakers, implementers, and academic researchers.
The issue culminated a two-year collaborative effort led by Ariadne Labs with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research, and participation from six organizations that received support to conduct the research. The organizations include the American University of Beirut, The George Institute for Global Health, George Washington University, World Organization of Family Doctors, and the Primary Care & Family Medicine Education Network. The project was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further the Primary Health Care Performance Initiative, a partnership led by the Gates Foundation, the World Bank Group and the WHO, with Ariadne Labs and Results for Development.